China’s President Xi Jinping reiterated his call for a new security framework for Asia, as the country’s claims over disputed territory increasingly challenge U.S. alliances in the region.
Xi warned against any single power’s attempt to dominate international affairs and said China will never seek hegemony no matter how strong it becomes. He spoke at a conference in Beijing yesterday to mark the 60th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, policies that have directed the nation’s external relations since the 1950s.
China is seeking to cast itself as a major power in the Asia-Pacific and end decades of U.S. economic and military dominance in the region where it’s embroiled in tussles with Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines over territorial claims. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned last month that China’s actions in parts of the disputed South China Sea are destabilizing the region.
“We should work for a new architecture of Asia-Pacific security cooperation that is open, transparent and equal, and bring all countries into a common endeavor to maintain peace and security in our region and the world,” Xi said. “The notion of dominating international affairs belongs to a different age and such an attempt is doomed to failure.”
Xi last month outlined his vision for regional stability and a new security concept at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. The group, known as CICA, comprises more than 20 mostly Asian nations from Turkey to South Korea that aims to improve cooperation on peace and security in the region. Japan and the U.S. are observers.
In his speech yesterday, Xi said nations should respect a country’s right to choose its own social system and model of development. They should also oppose attempts by any country to impose its views or oust legitimate governments through illegal means, he said.
“Willful threats or use of force should be rejected,” he said. “Flexing military muscles only reveals the lack of moral ground or vision rather than reflecting one’s strength.”
China’s Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, the cornerstone of its foreign policy, were laid out in 1954 by then Premier Zhou Enlai and were used to normalize relations with India and strengthen ties with Myanmar that year.
Xi said the principles -- mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in another country’s internal affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence -- can contribute to setting up a new model for international relations.
Myanmar’s President Thein Sein and India’s Vice President Hamid Ansari were among foreign dignitaries who attended the conference at the Great Hall of the People.
China has reached out quickly to the new administration of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sending foreign minister Wang Yi to the country on June 8, two weeks after Modi’s inauguration. While China and Myanmar had a close relationship during the five-decade rule of the military junta, ties have become increasingly strained since the country shifted toward democracy.