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  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 9:23pm
Xi Jinping
NewsChina
DIPLOMACY

Xi Jinping attacks concept of global hegemony, in dig at United States

President's remarks seen as criticism of Washington's foreign policy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 June, 2014, 5:42am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 June, 2014, 10:47am

President Xi Jinping has vowed that no violations of territorial integrity will be tolerated and said no nation should be allowed to monopolise global affairs.

The comments, which were made as Xi hosted the leaders of India and Myanmar in Beijing, were seen as a veiled attack on the United States, and highlighted the suspicions between Beijing and Washington.

Xi, Myanmese President Thein Sein, and Indian Vice-President Hamid Ansari commemorated a decades-old agreement to principles of coexistence. The principles were agreed when then premier Zhou Enlai visited the two nations in 1954, as China sought to break the diplomatic isolation of the Communist regime in its early years.

Xi used the ceremonial occasion to outline China's diplomatic direction. "Sovereignty is the reliable safeguard and fundamental element of national interest. Sovereignty and territorial integrity should not be infringed upon," Xi said. "This is the hard principle that should not be cast aside" at any time.

China is locked in territorial disputes with neighbours including Japan, the Philippines and India. Washington has said it will honour its treaty protecting Japan if the nation were attacked, and signed an agreement with Manila that will allow a bigger presence of US forces in the country.

Xi said all nations should be given equal footing in the global security framework, and share equal rights.

"Any attempt to monopolise international affairs will not succeed," he said. "No one can sacrifice the security of other nations for the pursuit of the absolute security of its own."

Individual nations should be allowed to choose their own path of development, and China opposed the overthrow of legitimate government of other nations out of "selfish interests".

"We oppose infringing upon the legitimate rights of other nations, and damaging peace and stability under the pretext of exercising international laws," Xi said.

He added that a "new architecture of Asia-Pacific security" was needed, and China would maintain positive ties with major powers, including the US.

Xi did not mention the territorial disputes between China and its neighbours, but observers said his remarks indicated that Beijing felt it should not be blamed for the tensions.

"The message is that China is not the source of the problem, and it is some external force violating principles of international relations and making chaos in the region," said Su Hao, a professor with China Foreign Affairs University.

Li Mingjiang, an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said Beijing intended to play a bigger security role in the Asia-Pacific region but was in conflict with the US.

Xi's remarks indicated that "there is not much common ground between China and the US in the region other than avoiding major conflicts between the two big powers", Li said.

Xi said China would never seek hegemony no matter how strong it was.

Li said China wanted to counter its aggressive image, but its neighbours might not be convinced. "There is a perception that what China is doing is different from what it says," he said.

 


A Guilding Light In Diplomacy

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, known as the Panchsheel Treaty in India, are a set of principles governing relations between states signed when premier Zhou Enlai visited India and Myanmar in 1954.

The five principles are:

  • Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty;
  • Mutual non-aggression;
  • Mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs;
  • Respect for mutual equality and work for mutual benefit;
  • Peaceful co-existence.

The principles were agreed among the three nations under the assumption that they would be turned into the norms for international relations. In remarks made after the signing of the Sino-Indian treaty, Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru said: "If these principles were recognised in the mutual relations of all countries, then indeed there would hardly be any conflict and certainly no war." The principles were put forward at the negotiations between China and India over their disputed territories. But a war over the dispute broke out between the two nations in 1962 - a dispute that has still not been resolved.

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This article is now closed to comments

ianson
"We oppose infringing upon the legitimate rights of other nations, and damaging peace and stability under the pretext of exercising international laws," said Xi and this is absolutely consistent with his policy which is "infringing upon the legitimate rights of other nations, and damaging peace and stability in blatant disregard of international laws". International law plays no part in his expansionist aim and he has now plainly stated that this is so.
tkruemmer
These principle are subject to abuse by China. They give China a convenient excuse to stand aside when other countries commit human rights violations, genocide and start wars. For itself, China simply declares somewhere Chinese territory and then refers to these principles when the international community protests. Under these principles even poisoning the the air and water of the world is declared an internal affair, the true extend of pollution being a state-secret.
Truth is, Chinese foreign politics know no principles at all. And domestic Chinese politics know only one principle, perpetuation of Communist Party rule. Anything else is expendable.
Marcus T Anthony
That's debatable. The period of US power has been one of the most peaceful in terms of international relations in general, as well as being one of the most prosperous. China has benefitted as well. Look what happened once Deng Xiao Ping unshackled China and allowed it to join the international system which the US had largely set up. The US was also instrumental in freeing China from the Japanese in WW2, intervened to stop Stalin from nuking China, and prevented Chiang Kai Shek from invading China in 1958-59 when China collapsed economically.
I'm not justifying American international relations, as everyone knows how much interfering It has done worldwide. Just pointing out that the version fed to the Chinese public only shows one side of the story. If it was as bad as you claim, then the ASEAN nations would have demanded their exit from Asia decades ago. Instead we have a situation where these countries are clamouring for the US presence. This is the rather inconvenient matter that Beijing seems unwilling to acknowledge - or talk about. But it remains central to the US presence, and the matter will not be resolved until China admits why these nations have a completely different view of the matter.
I don't think there's any need to comment on Xi's insistence that nobody has the right to infringe upon other nations. The kindest thing I can write is that the statement contains implicit self-contradictions when juxtaposed with the current maritime disputes in the region.
Daniel Lee
China, India and Burma Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence is a better alternative compared to US hegemony in which the US have supported terrorism, encouraged wars and invaded many countries.
ennoun
President Xi has been so quiet about Russia's illegal takeover of the Crimean region of the Ukraine. Guess he doesn't want to offend his buddy, President Putin so that action was OK? How can anyone take anything he says seriously?
daniel.thaler.31
Why isn't ANYTHING EVER China's fault, ever? Why are their own numerous territorial disputes the fault of, who, the US? Anyway, I'm certain that the territorial disputes China is involved with are because the other nations are in the wrong as well. I mean it goes without saying. Our treaty with Japan wasn't signed yesterday. It's been in place for a while. Honoring it is called being a true ally. Something wrong with that?
baysidedweller
I think US has been tinkering with the world long enough with disastrous results, politically and economically.
It is about time to change the status quo so we can give new ideas a try.
I agree that we should leave Asia to Asians.
chaz_hen
Wonder if China will ever have any true allies...besides N. Korea?
Asia Pulse
"President Xi Jinping has vowed that no violations of territorial integrity will be tolerated" ?
What a big liar ! And what about incursion into Indian territory, Vietnamese, Philippines, Japanese, Malaysian territorial waters ?!
He should walk the talk and stop assume the world will believe all the lies that come out of the communist regime.
caractacus
China says one thing and does another, like its South China Sea grab. What they are really after is for the US to disengage in Asia so China has a free hand to bully, bribe and steal all the region's resources.
Anyone who believes China's lies will be rudely awakened when the similarities with N a z i Germany and Imperial Japan in the 1930's come true.

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