Seeking to allay fears of China's growing assertiveness, President Xi Jinping has made clear his country's commitment to work for peaceful development and to usher in a "new phase" in Asia's security landscape.
Speaking to a gathering of leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai at a security forum here yesterday, Mr Xi outlined a new "Asian security concept" on how Asian states can play a bigger role to maintain regional peace.
In a nutshell, he said one country's security should not come at the expense of another's, and sustainable security has to be driven by holistic cooperation and joint development among Asian states.
"Asia's matters should be handled by Asians, Asia's problems should be resolved by Asians. Asia's security should be protected by Asians," he added. "Asians have the capability and wisdom to strengthen cooperation and realise Asian peace and stability."
Observers believe Mr Xi's goal is for Asian countries, especially China, to be chiefly responsible for regional peace so as to relegate Western states, particularly the United States, to a reduced role.
This was evident in how he criticised other countries for setting up military alliances in Asia which he saw as detrimental to regional security, a veiled message meant for the US and its allies Japan and the Philippines.
"To beef up an entrenched or military alliance targeted at a third party is not conducive to maintaining common security," said Mr Xi, who also stressed that China would use "peaceful means" to resolve territorial disputes, as it has done with 12 out of its 14 neighbours.
Regional peace has been rocked as maritime spats between China and its neighbours flared up, the latest incident being in the South China Sea after Beijing moved an oil rig into waters also claimed by Hanoi, sparking fatal anti-China protests in Vietnam.
China's move is seen as a warning to the US and its allies after US President Barack Obama visited the region recently and pledged protection for Japan and the Philippines if they come under attack.
Observers say China, tired of US interference in territorial disputes, wants to deepen its involvement in regional security issues and dilute the US policeman role in the region.