World / Asian Security

China hosts major Asia security conference

By Wu Jiao and Zhao Shengnan in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-20 07:41

Success in forming cooperation could shape region's future growth

China will host a major regional summit in Shanghai on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of an effort to facilitate Asia-wide security discussions.

The country is not alone in its aspirations for more effective regional security. The largest number of leaders in the 22-year history of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, or CICA, will attend the summit.

While Asia has become the world's most economically dynamic region and is closely watched in the world's power landscape, security cooperation has been a weakness. The region faces a slew of traditional and non-traditional security threats, ranging from terrorism to economic instability.

Though it has some subregional organizations that are grouped according to the cultural background and development level of member countries, Asia lacks a platform for dialogue that covers the region as a whole, according to He Jingjun, an observer with the Chahar Institute a Beijing-based think tank.

What's more, some Asian countries are imbued with the traditional mindset of "hitchhiking" on security issues, relying heavily on external forces such as the United States in the face of the region's shared challenges, He said.

Given the lack of an Asia-wide security mechanism, it is hoped CICA can fill the void.

Whether Asia can form a multilateral security system covering most countries may determine the direction of Asia's future development, the Diplomat Magazine said in an article on its website.

According to Feng Shaolei, a scholar at East China Normal University, the summit will include a historic overview of the evolution of Asia's security framework and an important review of the current situation.

As China will take over as the organization's host from 2014 to 2016, the summit was designed by the Chinese government as one of the two most important symbols of China's "host diplomacy" in 2014. The conference is viewed as being at the same level as November's APEC summit.

President Xi Jinping will elaborate China's views on the Asian security situation and put forward proposals for beefing up dialogue and cooperation, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Cheng Guoping said. Addressing terrorism is one focal point.

Covering about 90 percent of the Eurasia continent and more than half of the world's total population, CICA has been viewed by observers as a potentially effective platform to soothe regional disputes.

According to Diplomat Magazine, the simultaneous visits of Russian President Vladimir Putin, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani may offer an opportunity to discuss the ongoing negotiations over Iran's nuclear program between the P5+1 and Teheran.

Dong Manyuan, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said that as CICA has not yet become an international group or organization, its resolutions and policies are mostly symbolic. But it's expected that a document will be approved to enhance the partnership between the CICA and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, another key regional security organization.

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China hosts major Asia security conference

Tu Guangshao (C), deputy mayor of Shanghai, answers questions at the press briefing of the 4th Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Shanghai, east China, May 19, 2014. The summit will be held in Shanghai from May 20 to 21. [Photo/Xinhua]

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