Ninth Beijing Xiangshan Forum kicked off on October 21st. During it China made a vow to take charge and carry its international responsibility, as it said its strategy included supporting peace, stability and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was not in attendance of the opening ceremony, but he sent a congratulatory letter.
He called on Asia-Pacific countries to jointly address security challenges, safeguard international order and facilitate the long-term peace of the region via dialogue and cooperation.
Maintaining lasting peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific is in the common interest of all countries and regions in the area, and it will require different countries to contribute their wisdom and ability, said Xi.
“It is our shared responsibility to improve the new type of security partnership, build a security architecture fitting the regional reality, and more effectively promote enduring peace and common security in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.
In attendance was Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, who assured China’s resolution in defending its national interests.
He said China will not accept or be intimidated by “big stick diplomacy” or “long-arm jurisdiction”, which he said are ineffective in solving problems. The international security system and order are facing serious challenges, and it is the common will of countries from all over the world to maintain mutual trust and realize mutual benefit, Wei said at the opening ceremony.
The success of the Chinese people today is the result of their hard work, wisdom and peaceful path of development they have been walking on, rather than invasion, expansion and plunder, Wei Fenghe said.
China upholds a defensive national defense strategy and provides public security goods, including sending more than 40,000, or the most peacekeeping troops in the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, sending more than 100 warships on escort missions for Chinese and foreign civilian ships, and conducting over 100 joint exercises with more than 30 countries, Wei Fenghe said.
When discussing China’s military-to-military relations, Wei said it is normal for countries to have their differences, but “China hopes countries around the world will treat each other with fairness and respect, not bullying the weak or acting condescendingly”.
Wei said that China-US military-to-military relations, while seeing their fair share of issues, are still generally stable, but both countries should enhance cooperation in properly managing risks and tackling common challenges.
When tackling global security issues ranging from terrorism to cybersecurity, “no country can insulate itself and be disconnected from the world. Only through dialogue and joint effort and mutually beneficial actions can we find a way to let all people from the world live a better life,” he said.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was at attendance and he gave a speech. He said that growing Russia-China military relations provide a shining example of a security partnership based on equality, mutual trust and practical cooperation, which has also contributed positively to overall bilateral ties as well as peace and security in the region.
According to Sergei Shoigu, a number of modern countries are trying to change the existing system of international relations, based on their own national interests, which is harmful to other states.
“The situation in the world today is characterized by the desire of a number of powers to achieve their narrow national goals to the detriment of the legitimate interests of other states,” the Russian Minister of Defense said. “They are trying to change the existing system of relations based on the central role of the UN and international law, built on the basis of the experience and results of World War II.”
According to him, “international relations are currently degrading. Competition is being replaced by sanctions wars and barriers to trade, the exchange of knowledge and technology. ”
Developed countries are inventing increasingly sophisticated methods to increase political, economic and military pressure on objectionable governments.
“Chaos and the collapse of statehood are becoming the norm. It is enough to recall Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya, against which military force was used under far-fetched pretexts and bypassing the decisions of the UN Security Council. Today we are witnessing an attempt at a violent change of power in Venezuela.”
Shoigu, too, invited cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and said that Russia was prepared to work with them.
“We are ready to hold expert consultations on a wide range of issues, work to unify terminology, and take part in combat training events,” Shoigu said. “We are fruitfully working in a multilateral format within the framework of the Conference of ASEAN Defense Ministers and dialogue partners.”
The Russian Minister of Defense stated that “today the most dangerous phenomena in the field of international security are the involvement of countries in the arms race due to the deployment of destabilizing weapons on their territory, the militarization of outer space, and the transfer of struggle to the cyber sphere.”
“Understanding these problems and their readiness to solve them through dialogue is the main goal of the world community and the countries facing these challenges,” emphasized Sergei Shoigu, noting that “the Russian Ministry of Defense intends to continue to focus on close work with everyone who is interested in cooperation and the development of confidence-building measures in the military field. ”
For the first time since the forum first began in 2006, a representative of the US was in attendance – Chad Sbragia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense.
Sbragia said the US does not want any country to choose sides between China and the US, and the competition between the two does not represent confrontation as the US still wants to build constructive relations with China and benefit the whole world.
“One area that I would comment and challenge on is – I’ve heard this on this panel and other panels – the idea that the United States approach is fundamentally based on decoupling,” Sbragia said.
“I’ll tell you from personal experience that’s not only not official U.S. policy, that’s not even a policy discussion that I hear in my day-to-day business. That’s not even how we think about that,” he said.
“If decoupling was actually the practice, what you would see on a day-to-day basis would be fundamentally different than what you see.”
Sbragia said Washington wanted an open, free and inclusive Indo-Pacific region based on certain principles, including peaceful resolution of disputes, freedom of navigation and overflight, and fair trade and investment.
“Our treaty alliances in the Indo Pacific are not maintained as a relic of Cold War thinking, as some contend, but are manifestations of our enduring commitment to ensuring our allies and partners are secure in their sovereignty,” he added.
“Our inclusive vision extends to China as well. Competition with China does mean conflict, and the United States will not ask any country to choose between Washington and Beijing. That’s not how the logic of our framework, our approach, is set.”
MORE ON THE TOPIC: