(Reuters) – China will not “swallow the bitter pill” of ceding its sovereign rights to others, a senior military official told foreign naval leaders on Wednesday, as the country takes an increasingly assertive approach to guarding its maritime territory.
“No country should expect China to swallow the bitter pill of our sovereignty, national security or development interests being compromised,” said Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission.
The commission is China’s top military council, chaired by President Xi Jinping.
Fan, who met U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel this month in Beijing, made the remarks to delegates at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium in the coastal city of Qingdao, where naval leaders from more than 20 countries were meeting.
He also sought to assuage fears that China’s rise as a naval power posed a threat to other nations.
“Some people worry that China becoming a strong maritime power means a new maritime hegemony that will harm regional stability and global peace. Such worries are completely unnecessary,” Fan said.