East Asia Summit: China ‘won’t pursue hegemony’

Image copyright AFP Image caption Xi made his speech during the East Asia Summit in Vietnam

China’s President Xi Jinping has said China won’t pursue hegemony or bullying other countries, as it stepped up security cooperation in the region.

China, he said, wants to remain as a “loyal partner” of the region, and will do “all we can” to improve people’s lives.

But “claiming development and domination over others, and recklessly staking territorial claims and terrorising neighbouring countries, is something we won’t allow to happen,” Mr Xi told the East Asia Summit in Hanoi.

The gathering was packed with allies of China, with President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin also present.

The two-day meeting is the biggest foreign policy meeting for Vietnam, which is chairing this year.

It comes as Mr Xi’s country is locked in a complex trade dispute with the US, and Trump administration officials refuse to say when they will end the imposition of tariffs on China’s exports.

China’s President said the region’s economy needs to face up to changing times, and called for greater integration with the West.

“For the global economy to continue to grow, the world must stop narrow thinking and build a new international economic order based on fair and mutual benefit,” he said.


Other speakers included his counterpart, Shinzo Abe, Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Putin.

Vietnam’s President pitched the summit as bringing together nations willing to make progress together in pursuit of “greater responsibilities, common interests and regional prosperity”.

“This summit brings together the leaders of ASEAN, New Asia Network, ASEAN Special Representatives, EU, Russia, India, China, Japan, India, Singapore, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and America,” said Mr Xi.

“This is a gathering of countries of goodwill that want to promote cooperation in the region.”

Played down tensions

In 2015, Mr Abe and Mr Obama called for China and Russia to create a “rules-based order” in East Asia.

But at the latest summit, the leaders did not mention that term, saying instead that they would tackle the region’s security issues in accordance with the terms of the rule of law.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in played down East Asia tensions, saying China and South Korea were already working together on safety for nuclear reactors, in order to curb North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.

“We do not want the situation to get into a situation where we have to resort to military confrontation,” Mr Moon said, adding that “only talks can save North Korea from military confrontation”.

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