DIRECT DIALOGUE: Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie (right) meets with his Vietnamese counterpart Phung Quang Thanh at the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus Eight in Hanoi, Viet Nam on October 12, 2010 (HUANG XIAOYONG)
"Last year China's GDP surpassed Japan's and its international status has risen considerably, however this rise has raised concerns about how China will exert its new found strength," Meng said. "In such a context, China should tell the world, in an unequivocal way, what kind of development path the country is taking."
Qu Xing, Director of the China Institute of International Studies, said that China's basic national conditions have determined that the country has no choice but to choose the path of peaceful development.
China has a large population, and despite its growth the country's economic base still has several weaknesses. It has to feed close to 20 percent of the world's population with 7.9 percent of the world's farmland and 6.5 percent of the world's fresh water.
China's social and economic development must meet the needs of 1.3 billion people, and the country's per-capita GDP in 2010 remained about $4,400, ranking around 100th in the world.
"China will remain a developing country for a long time to come, which means that China must dedicate itself to promoting development and improving its people's livelihood. This calls for maintaining a peaceful and stable international environment and conducting international exchanges and cooperation," says the white paper.
"Peaceful development is a strategic choice made by China to realize modernization, make itself strong and prosperous, and make a contribution to the progress of human civilization," Qu said.
China will never engage in aggression or expansion, and will never seek hegemony, according to the white paper. In addition, it provides assistance to other countries and regions as its capacity permits.
"China holds a consistent policy that it will seek neither military expansion nor an arms race with any other country, as indicated by the low proportion of its GDP its spends on the military," Meng said.
In 2010, China's national defense budget was only 6.3 percent of its fiscal revenues.
"The central goal of China's diplomacy is to create a peaceful and stable international environment for its development," Qu said.
China's goal in terms of pursuing peaceful development is to promote domestic harmony and pursue cooperation and peace internationally, says the white paper. This has become a national commitment, which is already manifested in the strategies for national development and progress China has adopted over the past decades.
"That peaceful development has now been raised to the status of a national commitment indicates that the path will be a long-term strategy," said Yan Xuetong, Director of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University.
Specifically, this means that China will endeavor to make life better for its people and contribute to human progress through hard work, innovation and mutually beneficial arrangements with other countries.
To reach these goals, China will continue to pursue the basic state policy of opening up to the outside world. The government will work to increase the ease of conducting foreign trade, and continue to open China's financial markets and its financial sectors, says the white paper.
"For the first time, the white paper links the development and transformation of the Chinese economy with the prosperity of the world economy," said Wang Yiming, Director of the Academy of Macroeconomic Research of the National Development and Reform Commission of China.