Beijing Agency. China, who changes color like a chameleon, has made such a statement about Southeast Asia, which hardly anyone can trust. Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that his country will not dominate Southeast Asia or dominate its smaller neighbours, amid the ongoing conflict over the South China Sea. Jinping said this during an online conference with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Monday. The conference was organized to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the ties between the two sides.

The country’s official news agency Xinhua quoted Jinping as saying, ‘China strongly opposes authoritarianism and power politics. We wish to maintain friendly relations with our neighbors and lasting peace in the region. Xi’s remarks came days after Chinese coast guard ships intercepted two Philippine boats carrying supplies to troops off the disputed South China Sea coast and showered them with water. ASEAN members Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines also claim the South China Sea.

Philippines showed mirror to China

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte objected to the interception of his country’s boats by Chinese coast guards. He said that China should remember the conclusions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2016 decision of the International Court of Justice in The Hague on the South China Sea. The International Court of Justice rejected China’s claims on the South China Sea. Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yacoub called for a peaceful settlement of the South China Sea dispute.

On the other hand, the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry reiterated in the press conference that it did not accept the decision of the International Court of Justice of the year 2016. Myanmar not represented: Two diplomats told that ASEAN member Myanmar was not represented in the conference because the military government there did not allow representatives of the organization to meet ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others. China had expressed its willingness to attend the summit of all 10 members, but Brunei, the current chairman of the grouping, objected to Myanmar.

Edited By: Ramesh Mishra