Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said that China will never seek hegemony, expansion, or sphere of influence, adding that Beijing has no intention to fight either a “Cold War” or a “hot war” with any country. In the backdrop of the tense military standoff between Chinese and Indian armies in eastern Ladakh for over four months, the President asserted that China will continue to narrow the differences and resolve disputes with others through negotations.

“We will never seek hegemony, expansion, or sphere of influence. We have no intention to fight either a Cold War or a hot war with any country,” Xi said in a pre-recorded video message to the UN meeting. 

“We will continue to narrow differences and resolve disputes with others through dialogue and negotiation,” he added

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a surprise visit to Ladakh on July 4, had said the era of expansionism is over and that the history is proof that “expansionists” have either lost or perished, in comments that were seen as a clear message to China.

Xi, also the General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China and the Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese military, said his country will not pursue development behind closed doors.

“Rather, we aim to foster, over time, a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. This will create more space for China’s economic development and add impetus to global economic recovery and growth,” he said.

The Chinese president also addressed the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic and international criticism about China’s attempts to supress details about the outbreak.

“Facing the virus, we should enhance solidarity and get this through together. We should follow the guidance of science, give full play to the leading role of the World Health Organization, and launch a joint international response to beat this pandemic. Any attempt of politicising the issue or stigmatisation must be rejected,” Xi said.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump blasted China on Tuesday for “unleashing the plague of the “China virus onto the world, demanding that the United Nations must hold Beijing accountable for failing to contain the coronavirus that has killed nearly one million people across the world, including 200,000 Americans.

Trump demanded that China, where the coronavirus emerged, be held accountable for failure to control the virus and for allowing it to spread across the world.

“The Chinese government, and the World Health Organization — which is virtually controlled by China — falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission, Trump said.

Trump has repeatedly blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year and accused Beijing of suppressing the details of the contagion.