Xi tells Southeast Asian leaders China is not seeking ‘hegemony’

Beijing’s territorial claims in the sea clash with several Southeast Asian nations and have raised alarms from Washington to Tokyo.

But Mr. Xi said China would never seek hegemony nor use its size to coerce smaller countries, and would work with ASEAN to eliminate “interference”.

“China has been, is and will always be a good neighbor, good friend and good partner of ASEAN,” Chinese state media quoted Xi as saying.

China’s assertion of sovereignty over the South China Sea has been opposed by ASEAN members Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia have also made claims to parts.

The Philippines on Thursday condemned the actions of three Chinese coast guard vessels that they said they intercepted and used water cannons on supply boats headed for a Philippine-occupied atoll at sea.

The United States on Friday called China’s actions “dangerous, provocative, and irrational” and warned that an armed attack on Philippine ships would invoke mutual defense commitments. of the United States.

Analysis: The long arm of China's new maritime law threatens to cause conflict with the US and Japan

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told the summit chaired by Mr. Xi that he “hates” change and said the rule of law is the only way to resolve the dispute. He mentioned a 2016 international arbitration ruling that found China’s maritime claims to have no legal basis.

“This does not speak to the relationship between our nations,” said Duterte, who is leaving office next year and has been criticized in the past for not condemning. China’s Behavior in the Disputed Sea.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Myanmar is absent

Mr. Xi said at the summit that China and ASEAN had “cast off the gloom of the Cold War” – when the region was plagued by great power rivalry and conflicts such as the Cold War. Vietnam – and together have maintained the stability of the region.

China regularly criticizes the US for its “Cold War mindset” as Washington engages allies in the region to push back against Beijing’s growing economic and military influence.

US President Joe Biden joined ASEAN leaders for a virtual summit in October and pledged to engage more closely with the region.

On Monday, Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said the summit was held without Myanmar’s representation. The reason for the non-attendance was not immediately made clear and a spokesman for Myanmar’s military government did not return calls seeking comment.

Myanmar’s government leader Min Aung Hlaing of ASEAN is on the sidelines, who has led a bloody crackdown on dissent since taking power on February 1, from virtual summits last month due to the inability to execute a plan. peace was agreed, in an unprecedented exclusion for the bloc.

Myanmar refused to send a subordinate representative and blamed ASEAN for straying from the principle of non-interference and under pressure from the West.

According to diplomatic sources, China has been lobbying for Min to attend the summit.


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