BEIJING (AFP) ― President Xi Jinping said on Saturday that China is incapable of “hegemony or militarism,” after calling for stronger border defenses to avoid a repeat of past humiliations by foreign powers.
“Hegemony or militarism is not in the genes of the Chinese,” Xi said in a speech commemorating the six-decade old establishment of a commitment to peaceful coexistence with India and Myanmar.
“China neither interferes in other countries’ internal affairs nor imposes its will on others,” Xi added. “It will never seek hegemony no matter how strong it may become.”
Xi spoke to an audience of Chinese officials, military officers and foreign diplomats in a cavernous room in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
|Chinese President Xi Jinping (second from left) arrives with Myanmar President Thein Sein (third from right) and Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari (center) at a commemoration of 60 years since their countries agreed to principles of peaceful coexistence, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Saturday. (AP-Yonhap)|
Myanmar President Thein Sein and Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, who also gave speeches, sat on stage as Xi spoke, as did Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and two other top ruling circle officials.
The speeches were part of commemorations for the 60th anniversary of a mutual peace vow by China, Myanmar and India.
The 1954 Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence include mutually respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as mutual non-aggression and non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs.
Xi’s speech to an international audience contrasted with nationalistic remarks quoted by state media earlier in the day when he said China should bear in mind its history as a victim of foreign aggression and strengthen its frontier defenses on land and sea.
Those comments came at a “national meeting” held Friday and also attended by Premier Li and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, the official Xinhua news agency said.
The remarks underscore China’s resolve amid testy territorial disputes with neighboring nations which have accused Beijing of being increasingly aggressive in pressing its claims.
Xi told the Friday meeting that the country’s weakness in the past had allowed others to bully it, the report said.
“Foreign aggressors broke China’s land and sea defense for hundreds of times, plunging the Chinese nation into the abysm of calamity, Xi added, calling on the people not to forget the history of humiliation and to build a strong frontier,” according to Xinhua.
“Xi urged China’s frontier defenders to meticulously monitor over and control the frontier and to mount actions to defend the country’s maritime right, while implementing an overall national security outlook.”