Li reassures Vietnamese

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HANOI (Reuter) - Li Peng, the first Chinese prime minister to visit Hanoi in 21 years, yesterday tried to calm Vietnamese fears by insisting Peking had no expansionist plans in the region.

'China will never seek hegemony nor practise expansionism, and at the same time it is opposed to hegemonism and power politics of all descriptions,' he said in a speech at a banquet given in his honour by the Vietnamese Prime Minister, Vo Van Kiet. Hanoi, which normalised relations with Peking in November 1991 after more than a decade of hostility, was alarmed this year by what it considered a Chinese push to expand its territory and influence. Mr Li told Mr Kiet that people were wrong to say China would try to fill a power vacuum left in Asia by the collapse of the Soviet Union.