Premier Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday China is ready to increase military exchanges and boost defense dialogue with Japan.
China and Japan have a great deal of influence both in northeast Asia and in the world at large, Wen said. Developing military exchanges and a defense dialogue will help them increase understanding, avoid confrontation and safeguard peace and development of the region and the world.
Meeting with a group of Japanese reporters, Wen emphasized that China is on the road to peaceful development -- the country's condition, system and cultural traditions make any other option unthinkable.
"Our development will not have a negative impact on other countries, nor pose a threat to any country," Wen said.
He gave a joint interview to 16 Japanese news organizations on Wednesday ahead of his upcoming Japan trip.
"China is still a developing country, and we will not seek hegemony." There is a long way to go before China becomes a developed country, the premier said.
"Even if China were highly developed, it would never seek hegemony," he added.
With regard to China's defense expenditure, Wen said that relative to population Chinese defense spending is modest, less than many developed and developing countries.
"The key point is that China's limited military power is used to safeguard the country's security and unification," Wen told reporters.
In the last two hundred years, China has been invaded a number of times, the premier said, adding the country knows quite well what disasters war inflicts on a country and its people.
"China's adherence to peaceful development and a national defense policy based on self-defense is absolutely sincere, and beyond doubt," the premier said.
Wen is scheduled to visit Japan from April 11-13. His visit will be the first trip to Japan by a Chinese premier in the last seven years.
During the three-day tour, Wen will visit Tokyo, where he will meet with Japanese leaders, and Kyoto, where he will visit a university.
(Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2007)