Multiple issues addressed in security meet

2024-06-07 07:35:18China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The Chinese military's participation in the Shangri-La Dialogue by sending delegations led by the Defense Minister over the years has helped the world gain a more comprehensive understanding of its positions on global issues, while also facilitating communication and understanding between the Chinese and United States militaries, experts said.

The 21st Shangri-La Dialogue was organized in Singapore last week by the British think tank the International Institute for Strategic Studies. It's one of the biggest and highest-level multilateral conferences on security in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Chinese military has participated in the security summit every year since 2007. This year, the Chinese delegation, led by Defense Minister Admiral Dong Jun, comprised 34 members, including 29 from the People's Liberation Army, according to the event guide provided by the organizer.

Zhou Bo, a senior fellow at Tsinghua University's Center for International Security and Strategy and a member of the delegation, said, "At present, the Chinese military has attracted much attention, but there are still some misunderstandings about it in the West. Therefore, the Shangri-La Dialogue serves as a major platform for the Chinese military to articulate its positions and showcase a positive image."

In his first appearance at the dialogue after assuming office, Defense Minister Dong Jun delivered a keynote speech on China's approach to global security, stressing that China will not allow any country or force to trigger war or chaos in the Asia-Pacific region.

Additionally, during the Q&A session, Dong elaborated on China's positions on the Taiwan question and South China Sea issues.

"Dong's speech was quite comprehensive," said Zhou, who has attended 10 Shangri-La Dialogues in all, at seven of which he was a PLA delegation member.

Zhou noted that, given the current situation, the Taiwan question and South China Sea issues are both pressing and realistic topics, making it understandable that Dong focused on these issues during the Q&A session.

In 2011, China sent its defense chief to the dialogue for the first time, with then-defense minister Liang Guanglie delivering a keynote speech on the nation's international security cooperation. Since 2019, the Chinese defense minister has attended each Shangri-La Dialogue.

Military commentator Zhao Xiaozhuo who has also attended 10 Shangri-La Dialogues as a member of the Chinese military delegation, said that although the dialogue is a West-dominated forum, China's participation is crucial because it focuses on Asia-Pacific security issues.

"It is very important for the Chinese defense minister to use this opportunity every year to clarify China's positions and concepts to the international community and to highlight China's contributions to regional peace and stability," he said.

Last week, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr spoke about the Philippines' territorial claims in the South China Sea in his keynote address, while U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin gave a keynote speech emphasizing the U.S.' leadership in the "Indo-Pacific" region.

Some foreign media outlets had suggested that the South China Sea tensions and other issues were going to be in focus at this year's dialogue, with the Philippines and the U.S. likely to exert pressure on China.

However, at a news conference held during the dialogue, China's Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said he didn't feel any pressure, because "we have the moral high ground" on those issues.

Notably, after the speeches by the Philippine and U.S. leaders, two members of the Chinese delegation, Major General Xu Hui and Senior Colonel Cao Yanzhong, posed questions, challenging the Philippines actions' negative effect on ASEAN centrality and the U.S.' attempts to introduce NATO into the Asia-Pacific region.

Military commentator Zhao said that, given the Western dominance of the dialogue, there were some baseless accusations against China. "The PLA's participation and voice serve as a balance to those voices, allowing the international community to make its own judgments.

"Meanwhile, the Chinese delegation includes many senior officials and scholars. Their interactions with foreign military representatives help present an open and confident image of the PLA," he said.

During this year's dialogue, Dong held talks with senior security and defense officials from more than 10 countries and organizations, including the U.S., Japan, Australia, Singapore, Cambodia and the European Union. His meeting with Austin marked the first face-to-face meeting between Chinese and U.S. defense chiefs in 18 months.

In the talks, Dong told his U.S. counterpart that the two militaries must adhere to the bottom line of no conflict and no confrontation.

Zhao noted that it's crucial for China and the U.S. to maintain communication, especially because "the two countries have very different perspectives on issues".

"Therefore, both countries need to communicate to continuously reaffirm each other's bottom lines and consensus, such as crisis management," he said.

Zhou said the Shangri-La Dialogue is a good opportunity for the Chinese and U.S. militaries to strengthen communication and understanding. In recent years, the defense ministers of both countries have attended the annual dialogue which is held mid-year.

"If the two sides reach some consensus during the bilateral meetings in mid-year, there are about six months left to implement these consensuses before reviewing and looking ahead at the year's end," he said.

Related news


Most popular in 24h

MoreTop news


Back to top About Us | Jobs | Contact Us | Privacy Policy
Copyright ©1999-2024 All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
[网上传播视听节目许可证(0106168)] [京ICP证040655号]
[京公网安备 11010202009201号] [京ICP备05004340号-1]