White paper sets course for peaceful growth

Updated: 2011-09-07 06:56

By Li Xiaokun  (China Daily)

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BEIJING - A policy of peaceful development is at the core of China's vision of its future and previous practices by other rising powers will not be repeated, according to a white paper.

"China's peaceful development has departed from the traditional pattern where a rising power was bound to seek hegemony," the white paper, published on Tuesday, said.

"China does not seek regional hegemony or a sphere of influence, nor does it want to exclude any country from participating in regional cooperation. China's prosperity, development and long-term stability represent an opportunity rather than a threat to its neighbors."

The paper highlighted that the experiences of the past several decades have proved that the strategy of peaceful development is the correct path and there is no reason to deviate from it.

The Chinese people will never allow external forces to interfere in internal affairs, the paper said, and the country's core interests will be upheld.

"We welcome suggestions and well-intentioned criticism," the paper said. "We sincerely hope that the international community will have a deeper appreciation of China's time-honored cultural traditions, and respect its sovereignty, security, territorial integrity and social stability, which the Chinese people hold dear."

The document, with more than 13,000 Chinese characters, was issued by the State Council Information Office.

Zhou Wenzhong, China's former ambassador to the United States, told China Daily that the white paper has come amid significant changes in the international situation.

"It requires China to reflect upon and develop the model of peaceful development, expand on its implications, and show its sincerity and strong will to the world," he said.

"The white paper also clarifies doubts for those who question China's strategic intentions with the facts."

Meng Xiangqing, deputy director of the Institute for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, said that since the publication of the last white paper in 2005, China has taken great strides.

"Its GDP surpassed Japan last year and its international status has risen considerably," Meng said, noting that many nations have harbored doubts about how China will exert its strength.

"In such a context, China should tell the world, in an unequivocal way, what kind of development path China is taking and to show what it means to China and the world," he said.

Meng also noted that it is the first time that China's six core national interests are stated clearly: sovereignty, national security, territorial integrity, national reunification, China's political system and overall social stability, and the basic safeguards for ensuring sustainable economic and social development.

In the past 20 years, there was no clear definition of China's national interests in political and academic circles, Meng said.

"Now it tells our people and the world what is China's bottom line. That is very important... None of the core interests can be compromised."

Wang Yizhou, deputy dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University, said the paper also aims to unify thoughts at home as "some domestic voices argue China should be more aggressive on the international arena".

"It tells the public that China should remain modest and prudent in its diplomacy."

Shen Mingchun and Zheng Yangpeng contributed to this story.


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