North Korea

President Xi Jinping issues call for regional stability

President tells Boao forum that 'no country should be allowed to throw … the world into chaos' in apparent reference to North Korea

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 April, 2013, 1:18pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

President Xi Jinping said no country should be allowed to cause chaos in the region as he acknowledged Asia faced "new challenges" to its stability amid mounting concern over North Korea's nuclear threat.

"No one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gains," Xi said in the opening speech yesterday at the Boao Forum for Asia in the southern province of Hainan. Xi did not name any particular country in his speech and his language appeared to be diplomatically ambiguous.

No one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gains

But Professor Wang Xinsheng, a historian at Peking University who specialises in Northeast Asia, said there was little doubt he was referring to the escalating tension on the Korean peninsula.

"I think this is a clear message to North Korea and I also think it was one of the toughest remarks on the issue by a Chinese leader," said Wang. Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed frustration at North Korea in a statement late on Saturday, saying the central government would not "allow trouble-making on China's doorstep".

Tensions have soared in recent weeks, with North Korea threatening nuclear war after the United Nations imposed fresh sanctions over its latest atomic test and the United States and South Korea launched war games.

"Stability in Asia now faces new challenges as hot spot issues keep emerging and both traditional and non-traditional security threats exist," Xi said.

He added that relevant countries need to make "concerted efforts" to resolve major difficulties to ensure regional stability.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard echoed Xi's remarks, saying that "all countries in the region share a deep interest in strategic stability".

But Gillard, who has been critical of Pyongyang, singled out North Korea at the forum, saying the situation on the Korean peninsula illustrated the potential consequences of conflict.

Beijing yesterday asked North Korea to ensure the safety of Chinese diplomats and citizens in North Korea.

Xi's wife, Peng Liyuan, a well-known soprano, was sitting in the second row of the audience as her husband, who became president last month, gave the keynote speech at the forum.

"The international community should advocate the vision of comprehensive security and cooperative security, so as to turn the global village into a big stage for common development rather than an arena where gladiators fight each other," Xi said.

While advocating a peaceful and open-minded approach for greater regional development, Xi - in an apparent reference to territorial disputes with neighbouring countries - said China would "properly handle differences and frictions with relevant countries", but would also continue to press its claims.

"On the basis of firmly upholding its sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, China will maintain good relations with its neighbours and overall peace and stability in our region," the president said.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse