China proposes new security cooperation structure for Asia

* Xi says Asia should oppose beefing up military alliance targeted at third party

SHANGHAI: Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed on Wednesday a new concept of Asian security which analysts said bears significant implications for regional stability and the rebalancing of global security.
Addressing the fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) held in Shanghai, Xi envisioned a mechanism that stresses common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security to tackle rising challenges facing the region with 67 percent of the world’s population and one third of the global economy.
In sharp contrast to the decades-old security scheme based on Cold War mentality, the new concept addresses Asia’s unique challenges shaped by its historical grievances, current tensions and potential risks, said Qu Xing, head of the China Institute of International Studies.
“We need to innovate our security concept, establish new regional security cooperation architecture, and jointly build a shared and win-win road for Asian security,” Xi said.
One cannot live in the 21st century with the outdated thinking from the age of Cold War and zero-sum game, Xi said. By stressing sustainable security supported by sustainable development, the concept also provides a framework under which Asia can aspire to its revival based on economic prosperity, stability and cooperation, Qu said.
In his proposal, Xi said Asia should oppose beefing up a military alliance targeted at a third party, and any attempt to dominate regional security affairs or infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of other countries.
Security problems in Asia should eventually be solved by Asians themselves who are able to achieve regional peace and stability through cooperation, he said.
He urged countries in the region to insist on resolving disputes through peaceful means and oppose the arbitrary use of force or threats.
Provocations and escalation of tensions for selfish interests should also be opposed, he added.
Besides traditional security threats, Asia has found it difficult to respond effectively to non-traditional security threats including terrorism, transnational crimes, environmental security, cyber security, energy and resource security and major natural disasters which are clearly on the rise.
To build an Asian security mansion that could stand the test of wind storms, Xi said, “We need to focus on development, actively improve people’s lives and narrow down the wealth gap to cement the foundation of security.”
“We need to advance the process of common development and regional integration, foster sound interactions and synchronized progress of regional economic cooperation and security cooperation, and promote sustainable security through sustainable development,” the president added.
The summit came six decades after the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence was put forward by Asian countries and adopted as a guide to international relations, said Li Weijian, a researcher with Shanghai Institute for International Studies.
As an extension of the five principles, the new concept will not only provide significant guidance to promote peace and stability of Asia, but also add momentum to the rebalancing of the world’s economic and security dynamics, Li said.
The summit was attended by leaders and representatives from 47 countries or international organizations, the largest scale in CICA’s 22-year history.
Huang Renwei, deputy dean of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said the summit reached wide and concrete consensus instead of empty talks.
Proposed solutions to the region’s most pressing issues have high feasibility, and, if implemented well, could drive the forum to an architecture with higher level, he said.
Calling the CICA the largest and most representative regional security forum with the largest number of participants, Xi proposed to make the forum a security dialogue and cooperation platform that covers the whole of Asia.
He called for enhancing the capacity and institutional building of the CICA, improving functions of the CICA Secretariat, and establishing a mechanism within the forum for defense consultations among member states.
Xi expected closer regional exchanges and cooperation in anti-terrorism, business, tourism, environmental protection, culture and people-to-people exchanges.
The Chinese president proposed to put in place a non-governmental exchange network for CICA parties through holding CICA non-governmental forums and other means, to increase the conference’s influence and promote regional security governance.
He also suggested strengthening the inclusiveness and openness of the CICA, and step up cooperation with other organizations in the region and expand dialogue and communication with other regions.
Xi’s comments were echoed by Russian President Vladmir Putin who called the CICA an effective mechanism to drive security cooperation in Asia.
It is highly expected that as China has taken over the CICA presidency for 2014 to 2016, the forum would further promote peace and cooperation as a balanced, equal and coordinated security construct that takes into consideration each country’s interests and concerns, he said.
Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev said expanding economic cooperation should top CICA’s agenda.
He believes the Silk Road economic belt envisioned by Xi could boost infrastructure development, laying a sound foundation for security cooperation among nations along the route that overlaps with the ancient trade itinerary connecting the East and the West.

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