China remains a crucial market for Southeast Asian countries, as well as a source of investment (File Image)
Chinese leader Xi Jinping says his country will not seek dominance over Southeast Asia or intimidate its smaller neighbors, amid ongoing friction over the South China Sea.
Xi made the remarks Monday during a virtual conference with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, which marks the 30th anniversary of relations between the parties.
“China resolutely opposes hegemony and power politics, wishes to maintain friendly relations with its neighbors and jointly nurture a lasting peace in the region, and will not seek hegemony at all, let alone intimidate the little ones,” Xi said. according to the official Xinhua news agency. .
China has repeatedly tried to overcome concerns about its growing power and influence, in particular its claim to virtually the entire South China Sea that overlaps with claims from ASEAN members like Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines.
Xi’s remarks came days after Chinese coast guard ships blocked and sprayed a powerful stream of water against two Philippine ships carrying supplies to troops in a disputed shoal in the South China Sea.
China has sought to strengthen its presence on the waterway, home to crucial shipping routes, fish stocks, and underwater oil and gas reservoirs, by building runways and other features on islands created by piling sand and concrete over reefs. coral.
China’s powerful navy, coast guard, and maritime militia have also tried to block regional countries’ movements to exploit resources within their exclusive economic zones, and strongly oppose operations by the US and others. foreign armies in the area.
China and ASEAN have been negotiating a code of conduct for handling affairs in the South China Sea for years, but those talks have made little progress in recent times.
China remains a crucial market for Southeast Asian countries, as well as a source of investment, and ASEAN has tried to avoid conflict with Beijing. China also has strong ties to ASEAN members Cambodia and Laos, and has refrained from criticizing Myanmar, where the military ruler, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, has ruthlessly cracked down on the opposition since toppling the award’s elected government. Nobel Aung San Suu Kyi in February.
Min Aung Hlaing was barred from representing his country at the latest ASEAN summit, and it was not immediately clear who attended on Monday’s behalf of Myanmar.
The censorship came after an ASEAN envoy was prevented from meeting with Suu Kyi and other political detainees as part of a proposed dialogue to alleviate the crisis, in which an estimated 1,200 civilians were killed by security forces. The government has claimed a lower death toll.
In other comments, Xi said that peace was the “greatest common interest” of all parties and that China would do everything possible to avoid conflict.
“We must be the builders and protectors of regional peace, insist on dialogue rather than confrontation, partnership and non-alignment, and unite to confront various negative factors that threaten to undermine peace,” Xi said.
“We must practice true multilateralism and insist on handling international and regional affairs through negotiation,” Xi said.
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Xi Jinping says China will not seek to dominate Southeast Asia – EzAnime.net