Peaceful rise is a choice, not expediency

Updated: 2014-06-22 07:28

By Zhao Shengnan (China Daily)

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Peaceful rise is a choice, not expediency

State Councilor Yang Jiechi delivers the opening speech at the third annual World Peace Forum at Beijing's Tsinghua University. ZHANG WEI / CHINA DAILY

By highlighting the country's contributions to the world economy and its desire for a peaceful environment, China's top diplomat sought to allay concerns over a growing China on Saturday amid escalating tensions in the East and South China seas.

"China's choice of peaceful development is by no means expediency or diplomatic rhetoric," said State Councilor Yang Jiechi.

"It is a determined choice that China has made on the basis of its history, reality and development goals. It is a path that links China's interests intricately to the interests of the world," said Yang at the opening ceremony of the World Peace Forum in Beijing.

Yang's presence at the non-governmental seminar organized by Tsinghua University came on the heels of his visit to Vietnam, the highest-level direct contact between the two countries since tensions arose in early May over a Chinese oil rig operating in the South China Sea.

Yang said China had both the patience and sincerity to push for talks to resolve such issues; however, he reiterated that China is firm in upholding its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"We will never trade with our core interests, or swallow the bitter fruits that undermine our sovereignty, security and development interests," he said.

Yang added that there are some misunderstandings about China's increasing strength, but "China's development will bring even greater benefits to its neighbors and beyond".

Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said even though China's growth is slowing, it is still remarkable.

Yang said that in the next five years, China is expected to import over $10 trillion worth of commodities, invest over $500 billion overseas and have more than 500 million outbound tourists.

Nyunt Maung Shein, Myanmar's former permanent representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, said Myanmar believes that since sovereignty issues over disputed territories are complicated and difficult to resolve, the parties concerned should strive for practical cooperation in exploiting the marine resources.

"China is a rising major power. We should like to see all countries in Southeast Asia cooperate with China through its new initiatives, such as the Maritime Silk Road, which aims at fostering friendship through commerce," he said.

Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, suggested that maritime cooperation in the South China Sea could begin in low-sensitivity areas, such as joint search and rescue operations, and environmental protection.