China isn’t seeking to replace the U.S. as the dominant world power and wants peace and stability in an increasingly interdependent “global village,” China’s top foreign policy official said.
“The notion that China will overtake the U.S. and dominate the world is a myth,” State Councilor Dai Bingguo said in an essay dated Dec. 6 that was posted on the Chinese government’s Web site. “Our fundamental policy and strategy is to not take the lead and not seek hegemony.”
Dai said China isn’t trying to impose its own version of a “Monroe Doctrine” in Asia, referring to a U.S. policy introduced in 1823 that sought to keep European powers from staking claims in the Western Hemisphere. China’s ties with neighbors including Vietnam and Japan have been strained in the past year over territorial disputes involving islands in the South China Sea and East China Sea.
The U.S., Japan and South Korea have increasingly criticized China’s foreign policy goals following the Nov. 23 North Korean shelling of a South Korean island that killed four people. China is North Korea’s only ally and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meeting with Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Washington on Dec. 6, said China “has a special role to play to shape North Korea’s behavior.”
Dai said joint military exercises conducted in the region exhibited a “typical Cold War mentality.” The U.S. held naval exercises with South Korea in the sea between Korea and China last week and this week carried out naval exercises with Japan and South Korea as an observer. The war games were not directed “at any nation,” U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Hoffman, an Air Force spokesman, said in an e-mailed message earlier this week.
“The international community should welcome and not be afraid of China’s peaceful development, should help it rather than hinder it, and should support it and not to contain it,” Dai wrote.