At a media briefing Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu rejected a reporter's remark that China's increasingly tougher line in the international arena showed it is seeking a world leadership role, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
"I think neither of your arguments holds water as China has always pursued an independent foreign policy of peace," Ma said. "We always maintain that nations, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community. We neither bully other countries nor interfere in their domestic issues."
Ma said China also never allows any other country to interfere in its internal affairs or undermine its sovereignty or security.
The spokesman said Chinese people understand the country is still developing and will take time to achieve modernization.
"China will stick to the path of peaceful development. Both at present and in the future, China will never seek hegemony," Ma said.