Beijing: Amidst military tensions with its neighbours, a top Chinese general has warned countries in conflict with China not to underestimate its will to safeguard its sovereignty or its "military's staunch power" to protect Beijing's core national interests.
Speaking at a discussion to strengthen maritime struggle and maritime security cooperation conducted by People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Monday, Gen Qi Jianguo, deputy chief of general staff, said no country should underestimate China's determination to safeguard territorial integrity.
"He stressed in his speech that countries cannot underestimate the Chinese nation's strong will of safeguarding its state sovereignty, cannot underestimate Chinese government's firm determination of safeguarding its territorial integrity and cannot underestimate Chinese military's staunch power of safeguarding the core national interests", a brief report in state run People's Daily online said.
His comments followed growing military tensions between China and a host of its neighbours, specially Japan and South East Asian countries over maritime disputes.
China is also exercised by US new defence doctrine shifting majority of its military assets to Asia Pacific.
Gen Qi, who was elevated to the deputy chief rank in the recent shuffle after a once-in-a-decade leadership change of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), evinced interest in improving defence ties with India during his talks with the Indian defence team headed by defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma here last month.
The 2.3 million strong PLA is now headed by new CPC leader Xi Jinping who would be taking over as president next month following the retirement of Hu Jintao.
With him, a new political administration formally takes over power replacing the decade old structure headed by Hu.