China's defense minister vows no tolerance for war or chaos in Asia-Pacific

2024-06-03 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China's Minister of National Defense, Admiral Dong Jun, asserted that China will not permit any country or force to incite war or chaos in the Asia-Pacific region. This declaration came during his debut at the prestigious Shangri-La Dialogue, a global security forum, in Singapore on Sunday.

In his keynote speech, Dong highlighted the hard-won development, achievements, and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, attributing these to the collective wisdom and efforts of its people. "These should be highly cherished," he emphasized.

"We do not allow hegemonism and power politics to harm the Asia-Pacific region. We do not allow geopolitical conflicts or cold and hot wars here, and we do not allow any country or force to create war and chaos," Dong stated.

Addressing common security challenges, Dong noted that no country can remain unaffected and that absolute security or exclusive security is unattainable. He stressed the importance of a tradition of "helping neighbors in need."

Despite historical fluctuations, Dong said, common development and win-win cooperation have always been the mainstream trend. He dismissed the idea of decoupling and creating "a small yard with high fences" in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dong reiterated China's commitment to common security based on equality and respect, openness, inclusiveness, and the safeguarding of its core interests. He reaffirmed China's positions on the South China Sea and Taiwan.

While acknowledging the overall stability in the South China Sea, Dong criticized certain countries for being incited by external forces to abandon bilateral agreements and provoke disputes. "China has shown considerable restraint, but this restraint has its limits," he warned, urging a return to dialogue and consultation.

On Taiwan, Dong reaffirmed that safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the Chinese military's sacred mission. He vowed that the People's Liberation Army would take "timely, resolute, and powerful actions" to thwart any "Taiwan independence" schemes.

During his six-day visit to Singapore, Dong held talks with senior security and defense officials from over 10 countries and organizations, including the U.S., Japan, Australia, Singapore, Cambodia, and the European Union.

A day earlier, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin delivered a keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue, emphasizing U.S. leadership in the "Indo-Pacific" region.

Zhang Chi, an associate professor at the PLA National Defense University, contrasted Austin's speech with Dong's. He claimed that Austin's address focused on the interests of "small circles and groups," whereas Dong's addressed broader security concerns of the Asia-Pacific and the world, offering the Global Security Initiative as a solution.

Zhang described the initiative as China's key proposal for resolving security differences and conflicts globally, promoting dialogue over confrontation, win-win outcomes over zero-sum games, and partnerships over alliances.

Zhang also criticized U.S.-led alliances and security mechanisms in the Asia-Pacific, arguing that these "closed and exclusive" frameworks could harm regional unity, creating divisions and conflicts that threaten stability and prosperity.

He Lei, a former military scholar, interpreted Dong's speech as a reflection of China's commitment to "common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security" in the Asia-Pacific. He expressed concern that the U.S. alliance system could lead to the formation of a regional bloc confrontation similar to NATO, potentially jeopardizing regional peace and stability.

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