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Military diplomacy paying off

By Zhao Xiaozhuo | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-28 09:40

The participation of Chang Wanquan, state councilor and defense minister, in the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting plus representatives from eight partner countries in Brunei on Aug 29 will be another achievement of China's military diplomacy. By following the developments and changes in the international order, taking part in multilateral mechanisms and shouldering regional and global responsibilities, China has become an important force advancing multilateral security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

China's military diplomacy will have a far-reaching impact on the development of a new security concept and the setting up of a new security structure in the Asia-Pacific. The country has already played a key role in the establishment of ADMM-Plus to override the alliance system that prevailed in the region during the Cold War era. This is important because despite being the most economically dynamic region in the world, Asia-Pacific's security structure is still dominated by Cold War mentality and military alliances.

The ADMM-Plus comprises the 10 ASEAN member states and eight dialogue partners - China, the United States, Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India. It is by far the most inclusive and highest-profile regional defense and security mechanism that focuses on deepening mutual trust and promoting pragmatic cooperation.

Since 2010, the Chinese military has been participating in ASEAN's cooperation programs in five non-traditional security areas, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping operation, counter-terrorism, offshore safety and military medicine. In June 2013, China sent People's Liberation Army personnel, including engineers, and Navy hospital ship Peace Ark to Brunei to take part in the ADMM-Plus Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine Exercise.

The evolution of the ADMM-Plus mechanism will help the countries in the region to phase out their old-fashioned bilateral military alliances, which target a third party, and set up a comprehensive, cooperative and common security structure in the region.

China has also been participating in defense and security cooperation under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and advocating value concepts that are in line with the trend of peace and development. Because of China's continuous efforts, the cooperation level among SCO member states has steadily improved. Among the positive developments of China's efforts are the commencement of an SCO defense ministers' meeting, convocation of member states' chiefs of staff, holding of joint military exercises, extensive exchanges in personnel training and frontier defense cooperation.

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