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CICA builds inclusive Asian security architecture

Editor: Zhang Dan 丨CCTV.com

05-25-2015 16:54 BJT

By Hu Dawei, Director of Office of Research Management at China Institute of International Studies

A nongovernmental forum under the framework of Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is being held in Beijing this week to focus on security issues in the pan-Asian region. As a follow up to last year’s CICA Shanghai summit, the meeting seeks to facilitate academic exchanges among parties of the CICA and to spread a new security concept.

A nongovernmental forum under the framework of Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is being held in Beijing this week.

A nongovernmental forum under the framework of Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is being held in Beijing this week.

Asia security order at crossroads

Asia is home to 67% of the world's population and accounts for about one third of the global economy, which makes it arguably the most economically dynamic region in the world. Many believe the 21st century would be characterized as the Asian century. However, security arrangements in the continent remain fragmented, contending with long-held and deeply-divided cultural, historical and political differences amongst neighboring countries and regions. An overarching architecture to boost more productive relations has not yet been fully developed.

Although China enjoys recognition as the biggest trading partner to virtually every country in the region, the U.S. continues to hold the most sway in the security sphere for the region with a bilateral military alliance system, which dates back to the end of World War II. With a rising China perceived as a grave potential global threat, the US military alliance system acts in a divisive and contradictory nature. But, how can Asia’s regional security rely on isolating a country that is the leading global economic engine driver of growth?

Additionally, the US policy towards the region has become more intrusive with its so-called ‘pivot’ to the Asia Pacific in 2010. Consequently, the region has gotten mired in more intensified maritime disputes and struggling with less stability. The recent trend of provocative words and brinkmanship on the US side over the South China Sea have increased the potential danger of a Sino-US military incident, which poses as a scary scenario for many regional powers that have undertaken tremendous efforts to avoid taking sides.

CICA: A building block  

CICA is the largest and most representative regional security forum with the largest number of participants. Over the past two decades, CICA has assumed its responsibility to strengthen mutual trust and coordination and to promote Asia's security and stability by following consensus building principles and conducting outstanding contributions to increase understanding, to seek common ground and to deepen cooperation.

The security framework is inclusive, with all major players in the region represented, which highlights cooperation among its members in seeking security, rather than igniting tensions, as the right approach to a balance of power. CICA started as a participatory process, acting as a catalyst for a new security culture based on peaceful coexistence of countries that experience different social, ideological and political systems.

More importantly, China plays a pivotal role to promote security dialogue among CICA members and to emphasize a new concept which defines China’s goals and means over Asian security arrangements that reflects its understanding and intentions to form more peaceful and better economic relations with regional players.

New security concept

As President Xi Jinping pointed out in his speech at the Fourth Summit of the CICA on 21 May 2014, “One cannot live in the 21st century with the outdated thinking from the age of the Cold War and zero-sum game. It is necessary to advocate common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in all of Asia. We need to innovate our security concept, establish new regional security cooperation architecture, and jointly build a road for security of Asia that is shared and a win-win for all.”

Common security means respecting and ensuring the sovereignty of each and every country. Economic globalization and regional integration put countries in the region into a shared destiny. No nation can achieve national security independently or at the expense of another country.

Comprehensive security means upholding better diplomatic relations in traditional and non-traditional fields. The challenges brought about by terrorism, transnational crimes, environmental security, cyber security, energy and resource security, as well as major natural disasters are all interwoven and need to be addressed.

Cooperative security means promoting dialogue and cooperation. We should stand against the arbitrary use or threat of force; oppose the provocation and escalation of tensions for selfish interests. Sustainable security means that we should focus on development for durable peace.

There can be no development without security. And there can be no lasting peace without equitable and inclusive development. For most Asian countries, development represents their greatest sense of security.

The new security concept stands as testimony of China’s new type of great power diplomacy to indicate its willingness to play a more proactive role for establishing a viable regional security order that will benefit not only China, but its neighbors and the whole world as well. To what extent will CICA exemplify this concept? Well, this week’s discussions will provide us with some clues.


Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.








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