China does not intend to assume a role as “big brother”, but instead seeks to build a community of a shared future with all its neighbours, Premier Li Keqiang said in Beijing on Tuesday.
“There are no grounds for China to become a superpower, and neither does China have the intention to be one,” Li said.
“China has a long way to go to realise modernisation. It needs a stable regional and peaceful international environment, and China is committed to safeguarding that environment.”
The Premier made the remarks while answering a question from Suthichai Yoon, chief adviser of Nation Multimedia Group, at the Great Hall of the People on Tuesday during a meeting with a delegation from 21 Asian media outlets. The media representatives gathered in Beijing for the two-day annual board meeting of the Asia News Network (ANN).
The ANN, founded in 1999, is one of the world’s biggest media alliances. It comprises leading, mostly English-language news groups with a combined readership of at least 14 million.
Li said that even if China can realise modernisation in the coming decades, Beijing will not seek hegemony, and nor will it bully any country, however small that nation is in terms of population or landmass.
Just as a person might accidentally bite his lips, it is only natural that neighbours will have differences, the premier emphasised, but the key is to address such disparities in a calm, diplomatic way.
“I firmly believe that our era is one that needs peace and cooperation,” he said. “The common interests among China and its neighbours are way greater than disparities, and we can always optimise the common interests and better manage our differences.”
Endy M. Bayuni, editor-in-chief of The Jakarta Post said: “I am glad he responded to our concerns about where the country is going, as many are worried about the potential of China misusing its growing power.”
In answering a question by Phonekeo Volakhoun, editor-in-chief of Vientiane Times of Laos about the outlook of China-Asean relations, Li said that China has consistently supported the integration process of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the building of the Asean community.
Li said he would attend a summit in Laos in September to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Asean dialogue.
“We are committed to pursuing the policy of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness in developing relations with neighbours,” he said. “We would like to expand political trust with Asean members and other Asia countries … and make concerted efforts to build a close community of a shared future in Asia.”
Pana Janviroj, executive director of ANN, said: “The premier is very candid. He wants to convey China’s policies that in recent months have been subject to some skepticism.”
Li also took questions from participants from Indonesia, South Korea, Pakistan, Singapore and India regarding a raft of hot spot issues such as the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea, and relations with specific countries.
He said that Asia, as one of the most dynamic regions in the world, has played an increasingly important part in the world political and economic arenas.
The premier said he hoped the Asian news outlets, by following the ANN’s goal of improving Asian media’s coverage of Asian affairs, can help create an optimal environment for peace and prosperity in the region and around the world.-China Daily/ANN