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China initiates multilateral defense dialogue

( Source: Global Times  )         2014-November-25 10:08


Photo taken on Nov. 21, 2014 shows the scene of the plenary meeting of the 5th Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, capital of China. The two-day Xiangshan Forum focuses on security in the Asia-Pacific region. The biennial event, organized by China Society of Military Sciences, has been held since 2006. It will be held annually starting this year. Photo: Xinhua

  China is striving to initiate a multilateral defense dialogue mechanism through the recently concluded Xiangshan Forum, while enhancing domestic combat capability through a sweeping anti-graft campaign that has also extended to the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

  The 5th Xiangshan Forum, which concluded Saturday, saw the presence of both military officials and scholars for the first time since its launch in 2006. Over 20 senior officials of vice-ministerial level and above from 47 countries and regions attended the two-day forum in Beijing, media reported.

  Several defense ministers attended, including from Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia and Singapore, along with China's Defense Minister Chang Wanquan. Chang also met with his counterparts separately during the forum.

  Organized by the China Association for Military Science, the forum was themed "Win-win Cooperation: Building the Asian Community of Common Destiny." Discussions covered regional security, maritime security and anti-terrorism cooperation.

  The biennial event will be held annually starting this year.

  "Changes to the Xiangshan Forum come against the background of rapid political and economic development in Asia where there is a growing demand for regional security," read an article published on the PLA Daily on Sunday.

  Written by Wang Xinjun, a research fellow with the Academy of Military Science, the article stated that Asia needs its own platform for equal dialogue to solve regional security issues in Asia, instead of "counting on intervention from external forces."

  Many have compared the China-initiated Xiangshan Forum with the Shangri-La Dialogue, organized by London-based think tank International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) and officially known as the IISS Asian Security Summit.

  China offered tit-for-tat reactions to criticism on maritime issues by calling them "blatant provocation through illusive remarks" during this year's Singapore-hosted Shangri-La Dialogue in June.

  "Most participants in the Xiangshan Forum are friendly to China, unlike [those at] the Shangri-La Dialogue. This forum can be seen as a peripheral meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and an opportunity to exchange views between countries and regions that are not part of the SCO," Wang Guoxiang, an associate professor at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

  Moreover, China is now taking the initiative to establish a platform to set its own agenda instead of responding to questions posed by other countries, Major General Luo Yuan, a vice-president of the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association and also a participant at the forum, told the Global Times Monday.

  Shanghai-based military expert Ni Lexiong echoed Luo's views and referred to the Xiangshan Forum as complementary to the Shangri-La Dialogue.

  "This is another progressive Chinese diplomatic effort after its proposal of 'One Belt and One Road,'" Ni told the Global Times.

  "One Belt and One Road" refers to the China-proposed Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road.

  The proposals to enhance military cooperation and strengthen crisis management with neighboring countries aim to create a safe environment for the promotion and construction of the new Silk Road initiatives. They also were a response by China to containment from Western countries, analysts noted.

  "Against the backdrop of structural conflicts between China and the US and a domestic economic downturn, it is essential that China strengthens its defensive capabilities," said Wang.

  He noted that the investigation into Xu Caihou is indicative of the intent behind the current anti-corruption drive.

  Xu, former vice-chairman of Central Military Commission (CMC), was expelled from the Party and put under investigation for taking bribes and helping others get promotions.

  "Xu's case is only the beginning of a further crackdown on corruption in the military to strengthen combat capability, which has been weakened by officers promoted due to bribery and military funds wasted due to corruption," Wang said.

  Recent media reports have revealed that large amounts of cash were confiscated from multiple properties Xu owned. He also allegedly obstructed the investigation into Gu Junshan, deputy head of the General Logistics Department of the PLA, who was charged with embezzlement, bribery, misuse of state funds and abuse of power.

  Earlier this month, Xu's case was used as an example at the Gutian military political work conference chaired by President Xi Jinping, who also chairs the CMC.

 

Editor :  Zhang Tao