Beijing: Signalling a departure from the aggressive policy to stake China`s territorial claims with its neighbours, President Xi Jinping on Wednesday said Beijing will adhere to the policy of "shelving disputes and carrying out joint development" in areas where it has sovereign claims.
"The country will adhere to the policy of shelving disputes and carrying out joint development for areas over which China owns sovereign rights, while also promoting mutually beneficial and friendly cooperation and seeking and expanding common converging interests with other countries," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying at a high level ruling Politburo meeting of the ruling Communist Party meet here today.
His remarks marks a significant departure from a very aggressive policy pursued by China in the last two years in asserting its claims over the South China Sea, besides maritime disputes with Japan over the islands jointly claimed by both countries.
Observers say his comments were more on the lines of China`s late moderate leader Deng Xiaoping who after taking over from Mao Zedong reported to have suggested to various countries including India and Japan to shelve the disputes to pursue development.
China`s hardline approach on the South China Sea disputes involving several small countries including, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei besides Taiwan cost Beijing a great deal of goodwill and virtually drove all these countries towards US seeking its intervention.
While several incursions by the Chinese troops along of Line of Actual Control (LAC) had a negative impact on the India-China relations, the Sino-Japan ties were at its worst over aggressive patrolling launched by the Chinese maritime vessels at the disputed islands in the East China Sea.
His remarks toning down China`s aggressive approach came after the US Senate approved a resolution two days ago calling for a peaceful solution to the disputes in the East and South China Seas. The resolution accused China of making moves that fuelled tensions, including sending ships to disputed waters and setting up a new military garrison.
The resolution was criticised by the Chinese state media asserting that China should not be blamed for rising regional tensions and that the US should urge its allies to cease provocations.
Xi, who is Chief of the Communist Party and Army besides being President, said China will "use peaceful means and negotiations to settle disputes and strive to safeguard peace and stability."
He said China will adhere to the path of peaceful development, but "in no way will the country abandon its legitimate rights and interests, nor will it give up its core national interests."
China will safeguard its maritime rights and interests, and make overall plans and take all factors into consideration even as it emerged as a maritime power, he said, adding that the country will pursue "converging interests" with other countries in oceanic development.
"China will safeguard its maritime rights and interests, and make overall plans and take all factors into consideration," he said.
Meanwhile, he stressed that China will prepare to cope with complexities, enhance its capacity in safeguarding maritime rights and interests, and resolutely safeguard its maritime rights and interests.
In the 21st century, oceans and seas have an increasingly important role to play in a country`s economic development and opening up to the outside world, he said.
Their status has become more prominent in regards to safeguarding state sovereignty, national security and development interests, as well as the advancement of a country`s ecological civilisation.
The oceans and seas have an increasingly important strategic status concerning global competition in the spheres of politics, economic development, military, and scientific and technology, he said.