Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Rising to the security challenges

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-19 08:13

Much attention has been paid to the traditional security challenges facing Asia, such as maritime territorial disputes and the confrontation on the Korean Peninsula. But few notice that non-traditional security challenges, too, are threatening Asia. Rampant terrorism in South Asia, religious extremism and separatism in Central Asia, drug trafficking in Southeast Asia and piracy on the high seas all threaten Asian people's security, and their roots of these evils lie in imbalanced development.

In some sense, non-traditional security challenges can be more destructive because they are without borders and thus can easily spread from one country to another and are more difficult to root out.

Asian countries have no choice but to join hands to cope with such challenges. Unlike traditional security challenges that feature zero-sum-games, non-traditional ones can create win-win situations. Therefore, the countries involved need to give up their Cold War mentality and contribute their share for the betterment of all, including themselves.

Countries in the region need to first establish new mechanisms, such as security forums and coordination conferences, to enable all sides to cooperate sincerely. They also need to deepen interaction in research so that they can understand each other's intentions and avoid confrontations. And most importantly, they have to change their style of thinking to accept that non-traditional security challenges are a serious challenge.

As the biggest country in Asia, China can play a leading role in such efforts. Actually, China has already been making efforts in that direction - its Silk Road economic belt and the Maritime Silk Road policies, for example, offer good opportunities for cooperation to fight non-traditional security challenges. But there has not been much cooperation on the issue - some people in Russia fear that China's efforts could curb the integration process of the Commonwealth of Independent States, while some Southeast Asian countries doubt China's intentions. So, China, Russia and the other countries need to be more sincere with each other to further intensify their cooperation.

Li Yongquan, director of the Institute of Russian, Eastern European, Central Asian Studies, affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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