BEIJING, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- China's new leader Xi Jinping, in a foreign policy discussion with foreign experts in Beijing, said the country is committed to peaceful development.
China is following a path of peaceful development and its development would never be a challenge or a threat to any other country, Xi told the group he had invited specially Wednesday, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Xi became the Communist Party General Secretary and chairman of the party's Central Military Commission at last month party congress. He is also set to take over as China president from Hu Jintao in March.
China's growing military might and its aggressive territorial claims in the South China Sea and elsewhere have raised deep concerns among its neighbors, some of whom have overlapping claims to those regions.
"China will never seek hegemony or expansionism," Xi told the foreign experts, adding China's development would be conducive to peace and development of the world.
The new leader said the world has become an international community in which no country can prosper without others.
Xi pledged China's "unswerving" policy of opening up, saying it will continue to "open the door to the outside" for further development as the country steadily integrates itself into the global economy.
"We are clear that China is still a developing country facing a series of grim challenges in spite of great progress that has been achieved," he said, citing a Chinese proverb: "One loses by pride and gains by modesty."
It was the first time Xi had met the foreign experts in his new leadership role, China Daily said, quoting analysts that the meeting conveyed the new leadership's foreign policy blueprint. It noted that Xi had called them "bridges and bonds" to the outside world.
Also on Wednesday, Xi, during the meeting with the People's Liberation Army's Second Artillery Force, ordered the PLA to build a powerful and technological missile force, Xinhua reported.
He described the artillery force as the core strength of China's strategic deterrence and an important cornerstone safeguarding national security.
Xi stressed the absolute party leadership over the military, and called for promoting the PLA's traditions and working styles to ensure the army's "absolute loyalty, purity and reliability."
The military "should absolutely follow the command of the CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission at any time and under any circumstances," Xi said.
He ordered the training of special personnel on joint operations, information-based management and missile technologies, the report said.