In tough remarks for a speech commemorating the Communist Party's 95th anniversary yesterday, President Xi Jinping vowed that China will never compromise on its sovereignty.
He insisted that Beijing "will not stir up trouble, but is also not afraid of trouble".
Mr Xi's remarks come less than two weeks before an international tribunal rules on China's claims in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.
He reiterated that it was not China's intention to expand its sphere of influence in the region, nor was it trying to nurture its own backyard. He said China wanted to help its neighbours grow and develop.