Stick to the path of peaceful development
It is a developing country in every sense of the term. The economic and social problems we face are the biggest and most difficult in the world. We have no reason whatsoever to be conceited or arrogant. Our road to real development and better life for our people will be long and hard. This will require the unremitting efforts of several generations or even more. Even if one day China comes close to Western countries, like the United States, Europe and Japan, in per capita GDP, the quality of our economy and life will still lag far behind.
I must point out in particular that even if China becomes stronger, it will remain a member of the developing world and will continue to stand by the developing countries and work in unity with them for common development. That is because we share similar historical experiences with developing countries, we were comrades-in-arms with them, and we have common development tasks and strategic interests. Our position will never change even when China's economy has grown or its international status has changed. Now and forever, China is, and will remain the most sincere and trustworthy friend, brother and partner of the developing countries. Although there is room for improvement in our relations with the developing countries, China's cooperation with them is open and honest and based on equality, mutual benefit and sincere friendship. The hat of the so-called "neocolonialism" does not fit China.
5: Will China seek hegemony when it becomes more developed?
This concern is unfounded. To oppose hegemony has been written into China's Constitution and the Constitution of the Communist Party of China. Probably, no other big country or political party in the world has ever done that.
In terms of history, China has no culture or tradition of seeking expansion or hegemony. Throughout our history of thousands of years, benevolence and harmony are at the heart of our political and cultural tradition, which values harmony, good-neighborliness and friendship with all. China never sought expansion or hegemony even in its heyday centuries ago, when it accounted for 30 percent of the world's GDP. Zheng He, a great Chinese navigator, led the world's strongest fleet to the Western Seas on seven voyages, taking with him not bloodshed or war, pillage or colonization but porcelain, silk and tea. In the height of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618 - 907), what Japan got from China was not threat but prosperity. China's territory has basically been what it is today since the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD).
In terms of world development, revitalization of a country in the era of economic globalization can be well achieved through equal and orderly international competition and mutually beneficial cooperation. It's no longer necessary or possible to take the old path of challenging either the existing international order or other countries. The rise and fall of some big powers in the world tells us: Expansionism leads to nowhere; arms race leads to nowhere; seeking world domination leads to nowhere; and peaceful development is the only right path. The more developed China is, the more it needs to strengthen cooperation with the rest of the world, and the more it needs a peaceful and stable international environment. Mutual benefit and common development is what we have learned most profoundly from over 30 years of experiences in foreign relations since reform and opening-up. That is also a key to our success. We must hold on to the key and never give it up.
In terms of our basic policy, never seeking leadership, never competing for supremacy and never seeking hegemony is our basic national policy and strategic choice. Whether a country is a threat to the world or not is a matter of what policies it pursues. China always adheres to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, respects the right of the people in all countries to choose their own development paths, never seeks hegemony or leadership and never tries to dominate the world. As Comrade Deng Xiaoping once said, if one day China tries to seek hegemony in the world, people of the world should expose, oppose and overthrow it. The international community can hold us to account.
Some say China wants to replace the US and dominate the world. That is simply a myth. Politically, what we practice is socialism with Chinese characteristics. We do not export our social system or development model and we respect the choice of the people of other countries. Economically, we focus all our efforts on development. We are happy to see lasting prosperity and development in all other countries and we pursue common progress. Militarily, we reject any arms race. Our top priority is to enable the 1.3 billion Chinese people to have better clothes, better food, better housing and more convenient transportation. We cannot and will not spend heaps of money on weaponry.
We do not seek hegemony and will never compete with other countries for leadership in our region, seek so-called joint hegemony or follow so-called Monroe Doctrine. What we pursue is a policy of friendship, security and prosperity with our neighbors. The purpose of our Asia-Pacific strategy is to create a good, stable neighboring environment for our own development and achieve common progress with all countries.