Chinese chief Xi Jinping on Monday mentioned his nation is not going to seek dominance over Southeast Asia or bully its smaller neighbors, amid ongoing friction over the South China Sea. 

Xi made the remarks throughout a digital convention with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, held to mark the thirtieth anniversary of relations between China and the grouping. 

Two diplomats mentioned ASEAN member Burma was not represented at Monday’s assembly after its military-installed authorities refused to permit an ASEAN envoy to satisfy with ousted chief Aung San Suu Kyi and different arrested politicians. Military ruler Gen. Min Aung Hlaing was additionally barred from representing his nation on the final ASEAN summit. 

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In this picture offered by the An Khoun Sam Aun/National Television of Cambodia, Cambodian Prime Minister, proper, joins a web based assembly of the ASEAN-China particular summit at Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. 
(An Khoun SamAun/National Television of Cambodia through AP)

China has repeatedly sought to beat issues about its rising energy and affect within the area, significantly its declare to nearly the complete South China Sea that overlaps the claims of ASEAN members Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines. 

“China resolutely opposes hegemonism and power politics, wishes to maintain friendly relations with its neighbors and jointly nurture lasting peace in the region and absolutely will not seek hegemony or even less, bully the small,” Xi mentioned, based on the official Xinhua News Agency. 

Xi’s remarks got here days after Chinese coast guard ships blocked and sprayed a strong stream of water at two Philippine boats carrying provides to troops at a disputed South China Sea shoal and compelled them to show again. 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte highlighted the incident in his remarks on the convention, referring to the shoal by its Philippine title. 

“We abhor the recent event in the Ayungin Shoal and view with grave concern other similar developments. This does not speak well of the relations between our nations and our partnership,” Duterte mentioned, based on a press release from his workplace. 

Duterte additionally known as on China to respect the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which establishes maritime entitlements and sovereign rights over maritime zones, together with a 2016 Hague arbitration ruling that largely invalidated China’s South China Sea claims. China has refused to acknowledge the ruling. 

“We must fully utilize these legal tools to ensure that the South China Sea remains a sea of peace, stability and prosperity,” Duterte mentioned. 

On Monday, the Philippines redeployed the 2 provide boats to supply meals to the marines primarily based at Second Thomas Shoal aboard a World War II-era warship which it intentionally ran aground in 1999 in a transfer to fortify the nation’s declare. Chinese vessels have surrounded the shoal and demanded the Philippines tow away the ship, the BRP Sierra Madre. 

This image provided by Malaysia Prime Minister Office shows ASEAN leaders and Chinese President Xi Jinping, top second from right, on screen during an online meeting of the ASEAN-China special summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. 

This picture offered by Malaysia Prime Minister Office exhibits ASEAN leaders and Chinese President Xi Jinping, high second from proper, on display throughout a web based assembly of the ASEAN-China particular summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. 
(Malaysia Prime Minister workplace through AP)

At a each day briefing Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reasserted China’s place rejecting the 2016 arbitration ruling and claiming that its “territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea are backed by sufficient historical and legal basis.” 

“Any attempt to challenge China’s sovereignty and interests will not succeed,” Zhao advised reporters. “At present, the situation in relevant waters in the South China Sea are generally calm, and China and the Philippines are maintaining close communication.” 

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob additionally raised the ocean in his speech on the convention, saying, “As a claimant state, Malaysia firmly views that matters relating to the South China Sea must be resolved peacefully and constructively in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law.” 

“Malaysia calls on all countries to remain committed towards maintaining the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability and trade,” his workplace quoted him as saying. “To this end, all parties should exercise self-restraint and avoid actions that may be deemed provocative, which could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the area.” 

China has sought to strengthen its presence within the waterway, house to essential transport routes, fish shares and undersea oil and fuel deposits, by constructing airstrips and different options on islands created by piling sand and concrete atop coral reefs. 

China’s highly effective navy, coast guard and maritime militia have additionally sought to dam strikes by regional countries to take advantage of assets inside their unique financial zones, and it strongly objects to operations by the U.S. and different international militaries within the space. China and ASEAN have for years been negotiating a code of conduct for dealing with issues within the South China Sea however these talks have made little progress of late. 

China stays an important marketplace for Southeast Asian countries in addition to a supply of funding, and ASEAN has sought to keep away from battle with Beijing. China additionally has robust ties with ASEAN members Cambodia and Laos and has kept away from criticizing Burma, the place safety forces are estimated to have killed nearly 1,200 civilians since overthrowing Suu Kyi’s elected authorities in February. The authorities has claimed a decrease demise toll. 

China had wished that every one 10 ASEAN members be a part of Monday’s assembly, however Brunei, which at the moment holds the group’s rotating chairmanship, objected to Burma’s presence, based on two diplomats who spoke on situation of anonymity. 

A photograph of the video assembly confirmed simply an empty field with the Burma and ASEAN flags. 

In different feedback, Xi mentioned peace was the “greatest common interest” of all sides and China would exert its utmost to keep away from battle. 

In this photo provided by An Khoun Sam Aun/National Television of Cambodia, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen gestures as he joins an online meeting of the ASEAN-China special summit at Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. 

In this picture offered by An Khoun Sam Aun/National Television of Cambodia, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen gestures as he joins a web based assembly of the ASEAN-China particular summit at Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. 
(An Khoun SamAun/National Television of Cambodia through AP)

“We must be the constructors and protectors of regional peace, insist on dialogue instead of confrontation, partnership and nonalignment, and join hands in dealing with various negative factors that threaten to undermine peace,” Xi mentioned. 

“We must practice true multilateralism and insist on handling international and regional matters through negotiation,” Xi mentioned. 

Indonesian President Joko Widodo emphasised the financial hyperlinks which have made China ASEAN’s greatest buying and selling accomplice for the previous 12 years. 

Trade has grown from $8.36 billion in 1991 to greater than $685.28 billion final yr, Widodo mentioned. 

 

Over the identical interval, two-way cumulative funding has additionally exceeded $310 billion, making China the fourth largest supply of international direct funding amongst all ASEAN dialogue companions, the Indonesian chief added. 

“Mutual trust can be realized if we all respect international law,” Widodo mentioned.