No Bargain for Disputed Territory

China will never bargain over what it deems to be “core” territorial and security interests, the country’s top leader, Xi Jinping, said in first speech.

China’s Incoming Leader Pledges Not to Bargain on Disputed Territory
By CHRIS BUCKLEY

China will never bargain over what it deems to be “core” territorial and security interests, the country’s top leader, Xi Jinping, said in his first published speech setting out his foreign policy since his elevation, which has been accompanied by volatile tensions with Japan and other Asian neighbors over rival maritime claims.

Mr. Xi laid out some of the principles likely to shape Chinese diplomacy under him in a speech to the Communist Party’s elite Politburo that balanced vows of commitment to peace with a warning that certain demands are sacrosanct to Beijing.

At the heart of that message was Mr. Xi’s invocation of “core national interests,” a sweeping and ill-defined term that he and other senior Chinese officials have used to refer to security and sovereignty interests that they say are not negotiable. These include quelling independence movements in Tibet and the far western region of Xinjiang and eventually bringing the island of Taiwan under Chinese sovereignty.

“We must adhere to the path of peaceful development, but can never abandon our legitimate interests, and can never sacrifice core national interests,” Mr. Xi said at the meeting on Monday, according to an account published by the state-run Xinhua news agency on Tuesday.

“No foreign country should ever nurse hopes that we will bargain over our core national interests, and nor should they nurse hopes that we will swallow the bitter fruit of harm to our country’s sovereignty, security and development interests,” said Mr. Xi.

Mr. Xi’s published comments did not mention China’s quarrel with Japan over an outcrop of rocky islands in the East China Sea, or any other specific foreign policy issues. But his words could reinforce nationalist expectations in China and anxieties abroad that he will press territorial claims more determinedly than his predecessor, Hu Jintao, who remains state president until March, when the national parliament will install Mr. Xi in that post.

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Source: The New York Times.

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