Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Joint efforts to meet challenges

By Yang Danzhi (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-19 07:56

The CICA has 24 member states, and there are still many contradictions and even territorial and border disputes between the member states. As a result, it is difficult to reach a consensus on major issues and take coordinated action. The CICA members have carried out cooperation in a number of fields and developed corresponding action plans with a focus on initiating implementation of confidence building measures.

However, in the military-political field, little visible progress has been made in taking effective measures to strengthen traditional security cooperation, especially joint actions to deal with security challenges. At present important initiatives in the military-political field are launched jointly by China and Russia, as other members do not have enough capability and authority to do so.

Some Asian countries worry about their interests being damaged without participation in the mechanism. In addition, some CICA member countries have not joined or signed international multilateral treaties concerning arms control, disarmament and space, adding to the difficulties of the CICA countries carrying out multilateral security cooperation.

To promote the CICA cooperation mechanism, Russia's attitude is also very important. Russia's grand strategy is to establish a Eurasian Union and is striving to promote its "two-headed eagle diplomacy" toward Europe and the Asia-Pacific simultaneously. So, whether Moscow sees the development of the CICA mechanism as a beneficial complement or an obstacle will directly affect the process of CICA developing into a formal international organization.

In addition, there are a number of multilateral cooperation mechanisms across Asia, and some CICA member states are also members of several multilateral mechanisms. Therefore, it is difficult to ensure that these countries pay enough attention to the CICA.

China needs to attach great importance to the CICA's institutional development, and make the CICA and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization the two engines for the realization of the Silk Road economic belt. Within the framework of the CICA, it is necessary for China to further strengthen cooperation with other members in non-traditional security fields, including disaster relief, drug trafficking, human trafficking and terrorism.

Terrorism has become a common threat facing CICA member states and observer states. So it is urgent that efforts be made to strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation between the CICA member states, between members and observers and between the CICA and other international organizations, including information sharing, joint personnel training and joint exercises.

The original intention of the CICA was to establish an Asian security mechanism. Therefore, based on its new security concept, China should actively contribute to the creation of a more inclusive security concept that can be recognized and practiced by the member states and the formation of a set of principles and norms that all parties consciously abide by so as to set up a Eurasia security architecture at an early date.

In addition, China and Russia should encourage small and medium-sized member states to put forward more initiatives, especially in the political-security field. This would not only enhance mutual trust between the member states, it would create an atmosphere featuring equal cooperation within the mechanism.

Moreover, more effective measures should be taken to further advance economic and trade, energy and environmental cooperation so as to promote common prosperity in the region.

The author is a researcher at the National Institute of International Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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