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Xi vows no surrender on 'legitimate rights, core interests'

By Zhang Yunbi, Li Xiang and Zhang Chunyan (China Daily)

07:09, January 30, 2013

China will remain on a path of peaceful development, yet it will "never give up" legitimate rights or sacrifice core interests, Party chief Xi Jinping said.

China will adhere to an "open, cooperative and win-win" development model, Xi said at a group study session held on Monday with members of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau.

However, "no country should presume that we will engage in trade involving our core interests or that we will swallow the 'bitter fruit' of harming our sovereignty, security or development interests," Xi said.

Xi stressed that only when all countries pursue a path of peaceful development can they jointly develop and enjoy peaceful coexistence.

China should participate in international affairs in a more positive manner, jointly combat global challenges and contribute to global development, Xi said.

Qu Xing, president of the China Institute of International Studies, said Xi's speech presents China's foreign policy after the 18th CPC National Congress held in November.

Xi believes that the international community has an obligation to ensure peace, Qu said. During the congress, Xi highlighted the goal set by the CPC to realize the "China Dream" of the great renewal of the nation.

The congress also saw the Party set the goals of building a prosperous society by 2021 and forging a strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and modernized socialist country by 2049.

"To realize these goals, we must have a peaceful international environment," Xi said.

"China will never pursue development at the cost of sacrificing other countries' interests'' Xi said. "We will never benefit ourselves at the expense of others or harm any neighbor". The speech shows that China is continuing peaceful diplomacy, said Li Guoqiang, deputy director of the Center for Chinese Borderland History and Geography at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Yet some countries are challenging China's maritime rights and interests, and Li warned that issues should be resolved through bilateral negotiations rather than complicating or internationalizing disputes.

The question is how the message of peaceful development will be received by China's neighbors in East and South Asia because there are doubts about China rising peacefully, said Alice Ekman, China analyst at the French Institute for International Relations.

Wang Fan, assistant president of China Foreign Affairs University said that some countries should "stop miscalculating" that China might make concessions regarding its sovereignty simply for the sake of stability''.

The Party chief's reference to the "core interests" is a response to attitudes in some countries, Wang said.

The Party chief vowed that China will unswervingly adhere to its solemn commitment to never seek hegemony over any other country or be expansionist. "Wartime atrocities in the past have made an indelible impression on the Chinese people, leading them to desire and cherish peace and stability," Xi said.

Professor Yao Shujie, head of the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies at University of Nottingham said that Xi's speech stressed that China is pursuing a moderate foreign policy and also hopes that the US and other countries are not prejudiced against its development.

Global prosperity and stability represent an opportunity for China, while China's development represents an opportunity for the world, Xi said, adding that the success of a peaceful path of development will depend on the utilization of opportunities. Analysts said the speech symbolizes China's "greater role in economic diplomacy" and assistance to foreign development.

International platforms, including the G20, BRICS, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, allow greater room for China to function and fulfill its commitments.

Qu, from the China institute, said that the "G20 is a key economic platform for China's role in global governance, and China is expected to participate and define some basic rules".

In his speech, Xi also said China should link development at home and abroad and combine interests with those of other countries. Qu suggested that in addition to relocating global resources, China is expected to be a more dynamic player in overseas investment.

Liu Yedan, Jin Hanghang and Xinhua contributed to this story.

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