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Home > Press and Media Service > Spokeperson's Remarks
Chinese Embassy Spokesperson Refutes Claims of "Monroe Doctrine" by China in Southeast Asia
2010/11/11

The Financial Times ran an article by David Pilling “Time to be wary of China’s new swagger” on September 30th, suggesting a new “Monroe Doctrine” by China in its neighborhood.

It is useful to understand why feelings run deep in China about “uninhabited islets” in the East China Sea. The Diaoyu Island became part of Chinese territory since the Ming Dynasty in the late 14th century. This was widely recognized by Britain and other countries and was not challenged by Japan until the late 19th century when Japan seized the Island during the China-Japan naval war of 1895.

The continuous loss of territory has been one of the deepest wounds in the Chinese psyche in the century following the Opium War in 1840. It is, therefore, very hard for the Chinese people to accept that Chinese fishermen could be seized in China’s own territory by a foreign country, the captain of the vessel badly beaten up, interrogated in a heavy-handed way and subjected to the domestic law of that country. Small wonder that Japan’s acts were seen as provocations and caused much anger in China. These facts, however, went missing in David Pilling’s article, which would not seem just and fair to Chinese public.

Furthermore, David Pilling makes a wider point about China’s relations with its neighbors, suggesting that China is getting more aggressive. The Monroe Doctrine has no place in China’s foreign policy. China was trying to defend its own territory from outsiders, rather than playing a game of major power rivalry over other people’s territory.

China follows a path of peaceful development. It has never been, nor will ever be a bully to its neighbors, even if it becomes stronger in the future. Building good relations with its neighbors is a top priority for China’s foreign policy.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. During the Asian financial crisis in 1997, China prevented competitive devaluation of Asian currencies by holding the value of its Renminbi steady, at a cost to itself.

China has taken a similarly responsible approach in dealing with the financial crisis of 2008. China facilitated the setting up of an Asian foreign exchange reserve fund worth 120 billion US dollars and signed 65 billion pounds worth of currency swap agreements with some of its neighbors. This year, despite serious flooding and mudslides that affected 100 million people, China provided its neighbor Pakistan with 32 million pounds worth of assistance for its floods.

China is committed to handling territorial and maritime disputes with some of its neighbors in a responsible way, through dialogue and accommodation. We were the first to suggest the principle of “shelving disputes and going for common development”. And we will honor the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed with our ASEAN neighbors. China will continue to work for peace, stability and common development in Asia, which benefits all countries.

Ms Dai Qingli

Spokesperson and Head of Press and Public Affairs

Chinese Embassy in London

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