United Nations - With the increasing economic clout, China will continue its path of peaceful development, and never seeks hegemony, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Thursday.
Addressing the general debate of the 65th session of the UN General Assembly, Wen availed himself of the opportunity to tell a true China, which is the title of his speech, to the world audience.
The remark comes as there is growing suspicion by some people in the overseas countries that whether a fast developing China, whose economy just overtook Japan's as the world's second-largest, is going to follow the suite of becoming a hegemony country with its strength.
The suspicion has been increasing as there has been some recent doubt the China has grown arrogant and firm-handed in handling some dispute with other countries.
Some countries have also been urging China to take a stronger international role, shoulder more responsibility in some world affairs, a demand that China finds it hard to fulfill at the current stage.
Addressing these notions, Wen told the assembly that despite its growing economic weight, the per capita GDP of the country only stays as one tenth of that of the developed countries.
Regional imbalance, a 150 million impoverished population, low-end manufacturing industry and inadequate social democracy have further added to the truth that China still belongs to a developing country, according to Wen.
China's success against poverty in the last 25 years is "undeniable," according to Ajay Chhibber, UN Assistant-Secretary-General and UNDP Administrator and Director for Asia and Pacific, but he warned, in a recent interview with China Daily, that income inequality on the rise since the mid-1980s should be looked into by the country.
"China will need to address this problem if it is to maintain its past rate of progress against poverty," he told China Daily, adding that China is correctly focusing on social protection in its efforts to ensure that those left behind are getting support.
Sarah Cook, Director of United Nations Research Institute for Social Development said China's social assistance programs have been improved over the past years.
"These benefits [from the programs] have become an entitlement for people and everyone whose income fell below certain level," said Cook, a China expert who lived in China for many years, adding that the improved system is part of building consciousness and awareness about people's rights and their ability to demand things from the government.
In the speech, Wen proclaimed that for a long time China would still focus on developing its domestic economy, which should serve as the foundation for solving other problems in the country.
And he said China will continue to expand its reform and opening up which has been crucial to the achievement made so far. Yet China's development will bring no threat and harms to other countries and China will not seek hegemony despite how strong it is, Wen added.
Commenting on Wen's speech, Jamie Metzl, Executive Vice President of Asia Society said although China sees itself as a developing country, the world does not see it that way. But he said China "can and must do better" to be "part of solution to global challenges."
Metzl, also an expert on Southeast Asian history and politics, told China Daily: "Because of China's global importance, it needs to be part of the solution to global challenges… When China doesn't play this role, for whatever domestic reason, it deeply undermines the functioning of the global 'system.'"
Wen also said China will continue on its path of peaceful development, to gain a peaceful global environment for its development, while itself contributing to the world peace. But the country will not concede nor compromise on issues related with its core interests.
With its economic and poverty reduction achievements in the past decade, China has been helping other developing countries and least developed countries in many areas.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently praised the economic assistance China has been providing to many developing countries and African countries. He said that the successful stories of China in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and in other areas "should be emulated by many developing countries."
Wen reaffirmed this in the general debate. He said: "China will continue to cooperate with developing countries, and devote itself to enlarging the discourse power of developing countries in global affairs."