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UPDATE2: Xi says China intends to peacefully resolve territorial disputes.

BEIJING, Sept. 21 Kyodo

(EDS: ADDING QUOTES)

China's Vice President Xi Jinping, tipped to become China's next leader, said Friday that China intends to peacefully resolve its disputes with other countries in the region over territory and maritime rights, official media reported.

"(We) are committed to resolving differences with neighbors concerning territorial land, territorial sea and maritime rights and interests peacefully through friendly negotiations," Xi was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying at a China-ASEAN forum in the southern city of Nanning.

He vowed that China "will never seek hegemony, nor behave in a hegemonic manner."

At the same time, however, Xi said, "We are firm in safeguarding China's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity."

Tensions between China and two ASEAN members -- the Philippines and Vietnam -- are high due to competing claims to islands in the South China Sea, while China also is engaged in a heated territorial dispute with Japan over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

Xi said that China, having gone through many upheavals in modern times, is "deeply aware of the importance of development and the preciousness of peace."

"The more progress China makes in development and the closer its links with the region and the world, the more important it is for the country to have a stable regional environment and a peaceful international environment," he said.

In his speech, Xi also hailed "growing gains" in China's trade and economic cooperation with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, with two-way trade having surged to $362.8 billion last year.

China has been ASEAN's largest trading partner for three consecutive years and ASEAN has become China's third largest trading partner, while two-way investment totaled nearly $100 billion as of July, he noted.

Xi is expected to take over from Hu Jintao as head of the Communist Party at a leadership congress later this year and as president next spring.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Geographic Code:0PACI
Date:Sep 24, 2012
Words:316
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