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“China a contributor to global order, not free rider”- Chinese FM
June 28, 2015, 9:10 am

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks at the fourth World Peace Forum in Beijing, capital of China, June 27, 2015 [Xinhua]

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks at the fourth World Peace Forum in Beijing, capital of China, June 27, 2015 [Xinhua]

At the World Peace Forum, organized by China’s prominent Tsinghua University this weekend, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing is not interested in confronting the global order even as it seeks to broaden China’s economic and strategic clout in the Asia Pacific.

“Here I wish to say on record that China will always be a participant in the international order, not a challenger; we are a facilitator, not a trouble-maker; and a contributor, not a “free-rider”. This has been, and will always be the case in the future,” Wang said in Beijing. Despite experiencing its weakest GDP increase in 24 years in 2014, China remained the largest contributor to global growth.

As host this year of the annual World Peace forum, Wang sought to cast China as both a partner and player in the region.

“A growing China would only mean greater strength for peace and more positive energy in the world. We are determined to break the so-called “law of history” that draws a simplistic equation between power and attempts to seek hegemony. We will unswervingly go down a new path of sharing peace and development with all other countries,” he said on Saturday.

Wang Yi told the political forum in Beijing that China “will not follow the paths taken by other developed nations to squeeze other countries’ development space”.

The security environment surrounding a rising China has become more intense with heated exchanges between US and Chinese officials on the South China Sea disputes.

Wang’s comments came a day after US State Department’s top diplomat compared China’s behavior in the South China Sea to that of Russia in eastern Ukraine.

“In both eastern Ukraine and the South China Sea, we’re witnessing efforts to unilaterally and coercively change the status quo — transgressions that the United States and our allies stand united against,” US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday.

In a series of veiled warnings, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Daniel Russel had earlier said China should not doubt the US commitment to defend its Asian allies.

Chinese state media reports last month said that Beijing had begun building two lighthouses on reefs in the Spratly Islands, claimed by China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Yang Yujun, a spokesman for the Chinese Defence Ministry, dismissed international criticism of China’s policies in the South China Sea, claiming the work was the same as building roads and homes on mainland China and that it would benefit “the whole of international society”.

“From the perspective of sovereignty, there is absolutely no difference”, he said, adding that “some external countries are also busy meddling in South China Sea affairs”.

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister asserted at the World Peace forum on Saturday that Beijing “will not allow hard-won opportunities for development in the region to be interrupted”.

 

TBP and Agencies

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