Written by Staff Writer, CNN
Comments by President Xi Jinping condemning “old colonial mentality” and saying China is not seeking “first-strike dominance” in Asia have been viewed as steps by the country to win greater acceptance in Southeast Asia.
In a speech in Indonesia at the weekend, Xi took aim at China’s world view, which has been seen as less benign. He also outlined China’s interests and concerns, despite admitting China is a low-technology country that often comes up against “hefty resistance” in the region.
“We understand that big is not necessarily best,” Xi said, adding that his government does not wish to “frustrate the aspirations of smaller countries” and respect their development.
“China does not seek first-strike domination in the region, nor does it believe in the expansion of its land and maritime boundaries.
The dig at “colonial mentality” comes after several countries in Southeast Asia have blamed Beijing for attempting to sway the region with a more materialistic view of the region’s fortunes.
According to Mao Yanqiang, a China scholar at Oxford University , China’s ideological shift is simply the result of the country’s “new-found economic and political might.”
“As China comes into a better economic position … so it must attract attention from not only other Asian countries, but even from Europeans and Americans,” Mao told CNN.
“This is quite common.”
Analysts from Asia Pacific University in Singapore also say that Xi’s “colonial mentality” comment was essentially a way to counter accusations China was trying to dictate the region.