At present, traditional and nontraditional security threats are intertwined, humankind is yet to emerge from the shadow of the pandemic, and the Ukraine crisis is already wreaking havoc. The Cold War mentality is resurfacing, and unilateralism is running rampant, upsetting the international order. Once again the Asia-Pacific region stands at another historical crossroad. In the face of the new situation, the Asia-Pacific has assumed a more important place in the world and has a greater role to play.
Against this backdrop, the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue will be held from June 10 to 12. Due to the impact of Covid-19, the Dialogue, which has been suspended for two years, has attracted much attention all over the world. From the perspective of the agenda this year, regional order and regional security have become the focus of the discussion. Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe will attend the meeting and deliver a speech on “China’s Vision for Regional Order” at the dialogue to comprehensively introduce China’s policy, concept and practical actions in practicing real multilateralism, safeguarding regional peace and stability, and promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. And US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will give a speech on “Next Steps for The US’ Indo-Pacific Strategy” to further explain its “Indo-Pacific strategy”.
Nowadays, the Asia-Pacific is an anchor for world peace and stability, an engine for global growth and a new pace-setter in international cooperation. But in the context of major-power rivalry and the deficit in trust, the Asia-Pacific now faces two opposite choices: should we build an open and inclusive family for win-win cooperation or go for small blocs based on the Cold War mentality and group confrontation?
Since this year, the Joe Biden administration has taken a series of actions on its “Indo-Pacific strategy”, mainly aimed at “competing with China” from political, military and economic aspects. In addition to Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between the US, Japan, India and Australia and the trilateral security partnership between the US, the UK and Australia (AUKUS), it has even led NATO into the Asia-Pacific region.
Recently, during Biden’s visit to Asian countries, he announced the launch of the so-called “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework” and started things anew, impacting the current regional cooperation structure.
In his speech on May 26, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken comprehensively explained the Biden administration’s strategy for China. A series of actions of the US is steeped in the obsolete Cold War mentality. And its fundamental purpose is to serve “America First” and maintain its hegemony. Its essence is to create division, incite confrontation and undermine peace, which will bring destructive impact to regional peace, stability and development.
Peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific concern not only the destiny of the region, but also the future of the world. The concept of Asia-Pacific should not be downplayed, and Asia-Pacific cooperation should not be disturbed. The US deliberately erased the name of “Asia-Pacific”, downplayed the concept of “Asia-Pacific”, and adopted another approach in the Asia-Pacific region, attempting to bring military groups and bloc confrontation to the Asia-Pacific. It obviously will only damage the common interests of countries in the region, not for the common development and prosperity of the region. The so-called importance the US attaches to its allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific is aimed at decoupling regional countries from China and making them act as the “pawns” of US hegemony. Its intent is clear to many countries in the region. Asia-Pacific countries are generally reluctant to take sides, and the mainstream voice is that they hope that all countries can live in harmony and engage in win-win cooperation. At the recent US-ASEAN summit, ASEAN countries stressed the need for peace and cooperation, not taking sides and confrontation.
China stays committed to the path of peaceful development and a national defence policy that is defensive in nature, promote a regional security cooperation framework and a new type of security partnership in the Asia-Pacific, and continue to play a constructive role in strengthening regional security dialogue, mutual trust, and cooperation. China calls for resolving disputes through dialogue and negotiation, and has completely resolved all land boundary issues by peaceful means with 12 out of the 14 neighbors.
As the second-largest economy in the world, China has been contributing to over 30 per cent of the world economic growth, ranking the top for 15 years running. China is now the second largest contributor to UN regular budget and peacekeeping assessments. We actively participate in the building and reform of the global governance system, and take real actions to honor the spirit of the UN Charter and the authority of the UN. Facts have proven and will continue to prove that China remains a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a guardian of international order.
The Asia-Pacific is a shared home of all regional countries and their peoples. Any country that attempts to create camp politics, build an Asia-Pacific version of NATO and wage a new Cold War in the Asia-Pacific region, is standing in opposition to Asia-Pacific countries who are committed to peaceful development. China will continue to serve its development and prosperity, with its root struck deep in the Asia-Pacific.
In the spirit of mutual respect, respect for the territorial integrity of national sovereignty, we attach great importance to the region and reasonable security concerns, and actively explore cooperation between countries, expand converging security interests. We are committed to building a regional security architecture that accommodates the aspirations and interests of all parties, follows a path of mutual benefit, and maintains peace, stability and lasting prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. To make the Asia-Pacific a better place, countries in the region need to proceed from the common and long-term interests of the region, adhere to the principle of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and jointly make the Asia-Pacific region a driving force of mutual benefit and win-win results, rather than an arena of zero-sum game.
Cao Jing is an associate researcher at China’s Academy of Military Sciences. The views don’t necessarily represent those of China Daily
CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK