China’s Xi Jinping: sea dispute hardliner or peace seeker?

Xi Jinping

We now have two conflicting reports on China’s leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping’s speech to Southeast Asian leaders in Nanning, Guangxi yesterday.

Reuters gives its report the title “China’s Xi seeks to reassure Southeast Asia on sea dispute”. SCMP’s title, however, is “Xi Jinping uses tougher tone on South China Sea disputes at Asean meeting”

They both quotes Xi’s words: “We are firm in safeguarding China’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and are committed to resolving differences with neighbours concerning territorial land, territorial sea and maritime rights and interests peacefully through friendly negotiations.”

SCMP says, “Mainland analysts said Xi, 59, appeared to have adopted a tougher tone than in previous statements by mainland officials by putting sovereignty before negotiations.” SCMP lays stress on the first part, the hardline part.

Reuters, however, seems to lay stress on the latter part that indicates Xi’s intention to resolve differences peacefully through friendly negotiations.

In fact, SCMP also quote what Reuters quotes, being Xi’s words on the opportunities China may offer its ASEAN neighbors : “China’s sustained development and prosperity offer an important and lasting window of opportunities to its neighbours, and promise important development opportunities to countries around the world, ASEAN countries included.”

Obviously, Xi adopted the strategy of combining carrot and stick: sweetener for those who are willing to resolve the disputes peacefully and military actions for those who are engaged in confrontation against China.

Xi is both a hardliner and a peace seeker.

Read the full Reuters report here

Read the full SCMP report here



Categories: Politics & Law

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