China media: Xi Jinping's tour

Xi Jinping
Image caption State media say China is not trying to compete with the US in its own "backyard"

The Chinese president's visit to the Americas and the Caribbean plus a reef dispute with the Philippines are major themes in mainland media, while the Hong Kong press discuss the Tiananmen vigil and a row over "patriotism".

People's Daily and other state media have given high-profile coverage to the Chinese defence and foreign ministries accusing Manila of "encroaching" on a disputed reef known as Ren'ai in China and Ayungin Shoal in the Philippines.

Global Times says China should cut off supply routes to the Philippine military at the reef and be prepared for more "low-intensity friction" if Manila does not tow away a Filipino warship that has been grounded on the reef since 1999.

"These processes need to remain 'non-military' as far as possible, but they should also be very firm... This is also a process of the international community adapting to low-intensity friction in the South China Sea," the editorial says.

"The Philippines also plans to play up the reef topic at the Shangri-La Dialogue, starting on Friday in Singapore, to win more support from major powers such as the US," Yang Baoyun, a South East Asian studies expert at Peking University, tells China Daily.

'Bargaining chip'

State media are also highlighting the ministries' criticism of "misjudgements" in a report by the US Science Defence Board on Chinese hackers gaining access to the designs of US weapons systems.

"The accusation could be an excuse for the Pentagon to increase its military expenditure. And the cyber-security issue, which has been exaggerated by the US media immediately before President Xi Jinping meets US President Barack Obama early next month, can become a bargaining chip for the US during the meeting," Li Hong, secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, tells China Daily.

As Xi Jinping embarks today on his tour of in Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Mexico, followed by talks with Mr Obama in California, many experts and state media are giving assurances that China is not competing with the US in its "backyard".

Liberation Army Daily accuses foreign media of "ulterior motives" in highlighting how China will "dig out the US" from Latin America and engage in "neo-colonialism".

Jiefang Daily says China will have to resolve growing protectionism and trade friction in Latin America as well as US fears over China's forays into the region.

"It's not like in the 19th Century when countries divided their sphere of influence in a certain area. China and the US' involvement in Latin America is not a zero-sum game," Tao Wenzhao, a researcher at the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, tells Global Times.

Wen Wei Po, a Beijing-backed Hong Kong newspaper, says Mr Xi's visit is aimed at "reshaping a new power relationship with the US" and diffusing "antagonism" arising from the US "encirclement" of China.

Annual vigil

A University of Hong Kong poll shows that more Hongkongers than ever, especially among the younger generation, want Beijing to vindicate its official stance on the 4 June military crackdown, Ming Pao reports.

Robert Chung, director of the poll at the University of Hong Kong, tells Apple Daily that fewer people than ever believe that human rights conditions on the mainland have improved since the protests in 1989.

The poll comes amid reports in Apple Daily, Ming Pao, South China Morning Post and other Hong Kong newspapers of a war of words that has broken out over "nativists" boycotting this year's annual vigil in the city to mourn the victims of the 4 June crackdown.

They object to the patriotic "love the country, love the people" theme of the vigil.

The organisers of the annual vigil - the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China - are trying to patch up a row with Ding Zilin, whose 17-year-old son was killed in the crackdown.

Ms Ding is a founder of Tiananmen Mothers, a support group in Beijing for parents whose children died in the crackdown.

Ms Ding has told Hong Kong media that she turned down an alleged request by the Alliance to criticise Hong Kong's "nativism" movement and the boycott.

She says she disagrees with the "nativism" movement, but also believes that "patriotism" slogans are not appropriate for the vigil and are out of tune with public sentiments on the mainland.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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