Li Xueren | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
Beijing has increasingly clashed with the U.S. and other countries in both Asia-Pacific and Europe on issues ranging from human rights to unfair trade practices. Those countries have raised concerns that China’s rising political and economic influence is threatening the global order.
“However strong it may grow, China will never seek hegemony, expansion or a sphere of influence, nor will China ever engage in an arms race,” Xi said at the opening ceremony of the annual Boao Forum for Asia in the Chinese province of Hainan.
Without naming any countries, Xi said big nations should behave in a manner “befitting their status and with a greater sense of responsibility.”
He also spoke against a “Cold War” mentality and “ideological confrontation,” adding that any country that meddles in others’ internal affairs would not get any support.
Xi’s remarks came as U.S.-China relations are off to a rough start under the administration of President Joe Biden.
The United States, United Kingdom, Japan and others have spoken out against China on issues ranging from the autonomy of Hong Kong — a Chinese special administrative region — to allegations of serious human rights violations in western China. Beijing has accused Washington of meddling in its domestic affairs.
Last month, Biden said China has “an overall goal to become the leading country, the wealthiest country in the world and the most powerful country in the world.” The U.S. president said he will not let that happen under his watch.