Chinese President Xi Jinping has once again warned foreign powers against questioning Beijing’s sovereignty and maritime rights in its territorial waters.
"We adhere to peaceful development, and resolutely safeguard our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests," Xi said as part of his New Year's address.
"Chinese people will never allow anyone to get away with making a great fuss about it," the president noted.
China dominates most of the South China Sea. Other neighboring countries including Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei, and Vietnam have maritime claims as well.
President Xi, however, made no direct reference to the territorial dispute with Taiwan.
Recently, a diplomatic row erupted between the two sides after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen made a phone call to US President-elect Donald Trump, who has hinted at the possibility of working with the new government in Taiwan.
Earlier, the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhang Zhijun, commented, "Looking ahead to 2017, the situation in the Taiwan Strait is complex and serious, and the development of relations is facing many uncertain factors and risk."
He, however, expressed optimism that the argument will be settled to ensure peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Also in remarks on Saturday, President Tsai noted that the island would remain committed to maintaining peace and calm in the island’s dealings with Beijing, despite predicting uncertainties in 2017.
China and Taiwan are separated by the Taiwan Strait in the western Pacific Ocean. They were separated in 1949 following a civil war.
Beijing considers the self-ruled island as part of its territory.
Taiwan challenges China’s position.