China need not be ruffled by the Obama administration's latest diplomatic offensive across Asia, and Beijing and Washington remain committed to steady ties, a Chinese official and state newspaper said on Thursday, playing down risks of a rift.
The comments from the Chinese Foreign Ministry and in the overseas edition of the People's Daily echoed the generally restrained response by Beijing to President Barack Obama's push this week to shore up a dominant security presence in Asia and expand U.S. trade with the rapidly growing region.
In Canberra, as part of a tour of the region, Obama said the U.S. military would expand its Asia-Pacific role and would remain a power helping shape the region.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry stuck to a positive message.
As for relations among China, the United States and Australia, I think that further deepening and strengthening Chinese cooperation with the U.S. and with Australia suits the interests of all these countries as well as the other countries in the region and the international community, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told a daily news briefing in answer to a question about Obama's moves.
China and the United States share an understanding to continue unwaveringly developing bilateral relations, because the significance of their bilateral relations far surpasses the two countries themselves, Liu also said.
After a rough ride with neighbours last year and with an impending succession preoccupying the ruling Communist Party, Beijing policy-makers have been at pains to avoid diplomatic fireworks, even as the country's military modernisation and export dominance stir anxiety in Asia.
Comments in the overseas edition of the People's Daily, the official paper of China's ruling Communist Party, also reflected Beijing's reluctance to risk a row with Washington ahead of the East Asia Summit in Bali, Indonesia this week.
The United States both wants China to develop, but also wants it to develop according to the rules of the game stipulated and dominated by the U.S, said a commentary in the paper..
Yet China should not panic, it said.
No country hopes to see the United States and China fight with real swords and guns.
At the same time, all countries also hope that China can maintain its development momentum; otherwise, they cannot benefit from it. Thanks to these two points, we should have more confidence in the future peaceful development of Asia.
In response to Obama's announcement on troop deployments, the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday obliquely voiced misgivings, but did not go so far as to accuse Washington of strategic encirclement -- a worry among some in Beijing.
Media commentators and harder-line analysts have warned that China remains beset by potential strategic traps set by Washington and its allies.
Those anxieties could well up around the East Asia Summit in Bali, Indonesia later this week, which the Obama administration has said should discuss South China Sea territorial disputes, which set China against several neighbours.
China says it does not want the disputes discussed, putting it at loggerheads with the United States once again after they exchanged barbs over trade and currency at last week's meeting of Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum in Hawaii.
The Global Times, a popular Chinese newspaper that focuses on nationalist concerns, laid down the harder-line view of U.S. intentions on Thursday.
Separate commentaries in the paper scorned the Philippines for courting U.S. support in the sea dispute, and warned that Washington was stirring regional trouble.
That is the main reason for China's recent loss of stability in its near abroad, said a commentary in the Global Times by Zhang Weiyou, a Chinese researcher based in Geneva.
(Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)