Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Building security in Asia

By Han Liqun (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-20 07:56

Unresolved feuds and outside intervention leave lingering problems that require greater efforts to promote regional cooperation

The two-day Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia is due to open in Shanghai on Tuesday. It is expected to be a milestone event boosting dialogue, confidence building and interaction among Asian countries and promoting peace, stability and cooperation in a new Asia. President Xi Jinping will chair the summit and deliver a keynote speech elaborating a new Asian security outlook.

Due to interwoven historical feuds and current contradictions, the security in Asia, which stretches across 10 time zones and comprises 46 countries, is very complicated.

West Asia, a converging region of "five seas and three continents", has been plagued by the Palestine-Israel conflict. Terrorism and the unabated India-Pakistan conflict in South Asia have seriously hampered local economic development, while water and transport security pose security concerns in Central Asia. At the same time, the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and the territorial disputes in the East and South China seas are potential powder kegs in East Asia.

With tensions rising over the territorial disputes in the East and South China seas and the escalation of power struggles among the big powers in Central Asia, global security risks have further converged in Asia. Unresolved feuds among regional states, together with the intervention of outside powers, have put Asia in a more precarious position and made it a top priority for Asian countries to take practical measures to promote security cooperation among themselves.

Given the distinct security characteristics among different regions, it has been an arduous task for Asian countries to set up a forum for discussing the security of the whole of Asia. Asian countries first pushed for sub-regional security cooperation and this has achieved huge progress. The different regional associations, forums and alliances that have emerged in East, Southeast and South Asia, as well as among Arab nations, since the end of the Cold War have played an important role in defusing regional conflicts and promoting sub-regional political, economic and security cooperation.

But compared with the rest of the world, Asia still lags far behind in terms of regional cooperation and integration. The European Union has realized a high degree of integration and the euro is now poised to challenge the US dollar. The North America Free Trade Area, which tightly binds the United States, Canada and Mexico, has produced huge security effects. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Pacific Islands Forum are active and the African Union has also played a crucial role in promoting the continent's political development.

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Most Viewed Today's Top News
New type of urbanization is in the details