BEIJING: Seeking to allay fears over China’s expansionist agenda, Premier Li Keqiang said territorial expansion is not part of the Chinese DNA and the country will never indulge in it. “Expansion is not in the Chinese DNA, nor can we accept the logic that a strong country is bound to become hegemonic,” Li said in London on Wednesday amid Vietnam’s move to obtain international arbitration over its South China Sea dispute with China. China will “have to take resolute measures to stop acts that provoke incidents and damage peace,” Li said.
China is determined to prevent the regional situation from getting out of control, to uphold order and stability and bring the issue of South China Sea back on track. Beijing wants to make sure Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan do not receive Western support in their territorial quarrels with China. “China’s development over the past three decades has been achieved in a peaceful and stable environment,” he said.
“We have benefited from this environment. Why should we give up this benefit and environment?” Li also dismissed the possibility of a “hard landing” for the Chinese economy. “I can promise everyone honestly and solemnly there won’t be a hard landing,” he said, adding the Chinese economy will move within a “reasonable range”. This means economic growth of around 7% and inflation of less than 3.5% — through “targeted regulation”, instead of large stimulus packages.