(Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping appeared to warn some Asian nations on Wednesday about strengthening military alliances to counter China, saying this would not benefit regional security.
But he also pledged to peacefully resolve China’s disputes over territory, which have intensified in recent years, especially in the South and East China Seas.
“To beef up military alliances targeted at a third party is not conducive to maintaining common security in the region,” Xi said in a speech, following a period when some Asian countries have sought to reaffirm their security ties with Washington.
During a visit to Asia last month, U.S. President Barack Obama also sought to reassure allies such as Japan and the Philippines that his long-promised strategic shift towards Asia and the Pacific, widely seen as aimed at countering China’s rising influence, was real.
Xi made his remarks at a regional conference in Shanghai in front of Vietnamese Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan, as well as representatives from the Philippines, Japan and more than 40 other countries and organizations.
He did not mention the United States.
China is embroiled in bitter disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines over maritime boundaries in the South China Sea. Beijing and Tokyo are also at loggerheads over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Anti-Chinese violence flared in Vietnam last week after Chinese state oil company CNOOC deployed an oil rig 240 km (150 miles) off the coast of Vietnam in waters also claimed by Hanoi. The rig was towed there just days after Obama left the region.
The move was the latest in a series of confrontations between China and some of its neighbors over the potentially oil-and-gas rich South China Sea. Washington has responded with sharpened rhetoric toward Beijing, describing a pattern of “provocative” actions by China.
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