China will 'never seek hegemony', says Xi

China will never pursue hegemony, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday as global concerns persist over the country's growing economic influence.

During a speech to mark 40 years of market reforms, Xi repeated China's commitment to a multilateral trading system and further opening of its economy.

However, he did not announce any new initiatives to counter a slowing economy and trade frictions with the United States.

The Chinese leader said China would not develop "at the expense of other countries' interests."

China's expanding footprint worldwide from Asia-Pacific to Africa and beyond through a broad network of infrastructure projects called the Belt and Road Initiative has led some nations to raise the alarm over what they call China's long arm of influence, which has been criticised for being political as well as economic.

While Xi said China is "increasingly approaching the center of the world stage," he also noted that the country pursues a defensive national defense policy.

"China's development does not pose a threat to any country," Xi said.

"No matter how far China develops, it will never seek hegemony."