On June 1, Chinese defense and security experts made statements on China’s position regarding hot topics, including new mode of defense cooperation, maritime security cooperation, and cyber security, at the ongoing 18th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, and proposed valuable advice.
Major General Ci Guowei, chief of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), addressed a special session on “New Model of Defense Cooperation” during the dialogue. He said that China is fully aware that its peaceful development is closely linked with the future of the Asia-Pacific. China advocates active bilateral and multilateral security dialogue and cooperation, and strive to facilitate regional cooperation in both economy and security. China adopts a holistic approach to security governance that addresses both symptoms and root causes.
Major General Ci Guowei pointed out that China advocates positive interactions between major countries for defense cooperation. Only when major-country relations remain generally stable could the Asia-Pacific enjoy relative tranquility.
Major General Ci stressed that China advocates building an open and inclusive architecture for defense cooperation. Military blocs left over from the cold war are the choices of only a small number of countries and do not represent the preference of the majority of regional and international communities. Ci added that the Cold War mentality delineated by ideology and friend-foe camps has become outdated.
In addition, Major General Ci expressed that China should focus on practical cooperation in non-traditional security. Compared with traditional security issues, non-traditional security is an area where countries have more consensuses and more joint engagement. “Therefore, for greater mutual trust, we should proceed from the lower-hanging fruits and continue our cooperation with non-traditional security as the priority,” he added.
Regarding maritime security and cooperation, Senior Colonel Zhou Bo, director of the Center for Security Cooperation at the CMC Office for International Military Cooperation, said that China attaches great importance to maritime security. The reason for China to propose jointly building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is to facilitate maritime connectivity, pragmatic cooperation, as well as to promote common security through economic development.
Senior Colonel Zhou also said that the Chinese armed forces remain committed to working with their foreign counterparts to safeguard maritime peace and tranquility. China has also conducted extensive dialogues and consultations with relevant countries on maritime security. Undoubtedly, these consultations and dialogues as well as cooperation, will play a positive role in promoting maritime security and avoiding maritime incidents and conflicts.
In addition, Senior Colonel Zhou said that close-range military activities that are considered unfriendly or even hostile by the other party should be reduced or avoided to prevent maritime conflicts. In the future, Asia-Pacific nations should be further encouraged to carry out dialogues and exercises to avoid dangerous military operations both at sea and in the air.
When talking about cyber security issues, Xu Manshu, a professor with the National Security Academy of PLA’s National Defense University, said that the rapid development of information technology has brought new challenges to both national and global security. The international community hopes to find measures to reduce risks of instability. Preventing conflicts and crises in cyberspace requires all parties to continue in their efforts to find way out of security impasse and consolidate mutual trust.
Professor Xu also suggested that countries should establish an information notification mechanism to exchange concerns about cyber security and information about network policy changes on a regular basis, in order to gain a better understanding of their differences, divergences and common grounds in cyber security. Thereafter, a communication mechanism at the working level may be established, in a bid to maintain diversified communicative channels, ensure emergency handling and coordination during crisis, and avoid misjudgment.
The 18th Shangri-La Dialogue was held in Singapore on May 31 and was attended by defense ministers, military officials, experts and scholars from about 40 countries.