Panda bluff. Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Fu Ying calls for the Asia-Pacific community to work together and form greater trust in the region, for mutual co-operation and progress.
Asia-Pacific region should work together to reduce differences, build trust: Chinese official
Editor: Bai Yang 丨Xinhua
05-30-2014 21:46 BJT
SINGAPORE, May 30 (Xinhua)– All countries in the Asia-Pacific region should work together to find a way to reduce differences and build trust, Fu Ying, chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, said on Friday.
Over the past 20 years, the Asia-Pacific region has seen the largest poverty alleviation and fast economic growth in the world, due to sustained stability and peace, Fu said when attending the 13th Asia Security Summit, or Shangri-La Dialogue.
Fu said in order to tackle the regional security challenges and for a better development, closer and greater cooperation are needed.
She said the Asia-Pacific region currently stands at the doorstep of choices.
It is time to reflect on whether to continue the path of building trust, having cooperation and resolving differences that have been proven correct in the past decade, or to enlarge the differences.
Chinese President Xi Jinping recently said at the fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia summit that China would like to see a new security approach in Asia focusing on cooperation, coordination and sustainability.
Xi emphasized the importance of candid dialogues and peaceful means in addressing challenges confronted China.
Fu said China is faced with difficult challenges such as the incident that Japan’s government nationalized Diaoyu Islands.
China has to respond effectively to protect China’s interest and prevent provocation from escalating clashes as well.
“That’s important for preserving peace and stability as well. But in the final analysis, it’s very important to come back to dialogue, negotiations and consensus that we are trying to resolve the issues through peaceful means,” Fu said.
She expressed her concern that Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is “making Diaoyu Islands a bigger issue” and tried to convey the message to the world that China had posed a threat to Japan, using that as an excuse to amend the security policy of Japan.
On China-ASEAN relations, Tommy Koh, Chairperson on the High- Level Task Force on the Drafting of the ASEAN Charter who also attended the activity, said ASEAN’s mission and agenda is to promote peace, cooperation and mutual trust in the Asia-Pacific region.
He noted that ASEAN needs to play a positive role in increasing trust of the region, given that both the phenomena of high-degree of cooperation and deficit of trust coexist in the region.
Koh believe that the ASEAN-China relation is mutually beneficial and develops in a positive direction.
“Do we have a deficit or do we have a newly created mistrust? It’s a question we need to reflect on. But it’s important that all the leaders in the region are duty-bound to continue build the trust,” Fu responded to Koh in this way.
The Shangri-La Dialogue, a multilateral forum organized by the London-based think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies, has been one of the key events for defense professionals in the region to exchange views on security issues.
Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), leads the Chinese delegation to the dialogue this year.
The Chinese delegation will expound China’s point of view on security during the dialogue and discuss with other parties on ways to jointly safeguard regional peace, security and stability.
What China’s top diplomat conveniently omit when she was on stage is the fact that the aggressor in the region is China. Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has been playing the protagonist role, eminently threatened its neighbours and countries around the region with the aggressive military maneuvres as projections of force and power.
China invaded the Paracel Islands (then part of South Vietnam) in January 1074. China also exerted claims over Scarborough Shoal and the imginary ‘Nine-Dash-Line’.
Despite a signatory of the United Nations Convention Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS) and Document of Conduct (DOC) with ASEAN countries in November 2002 where all agreed to resolve multiple claims and disputed territories through diplomatic channel and using UNCLOS as the basis for terms of reference, China rejected the Philippines move to bring the Scarborough Shoal case to ICJ at the Hague.
How would China expect ‘trust and working together’ when it cannot honour its own commitments?
The fact China’s interpretation of ‘working together’ is to submit the communist nation’s whims and fancies and jointly develop resources in disputed territories where it would benefit China more than the others, despite these areas are within areas stipulated as ‘Exclusive Economic Zone’ (EEZ) clearly defined under UNCLOS.
US Defence Secretary described China’s maneuvres mobilising military assets, units in aggressive fashion around the region especially around disputed areas in South China Sea and Sea of Japan as “Destabilising the region” and warned against strong-arm tactics against neighbours Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam.
31 May 2014 Last updated at 09:17
Chuck Hagel: Beijing ‘destabilising’ South China Sea
The US defence secretary has accused China of “destabilising” the South China Sea, saying its action threatened the region’s long-term progress.
Chuck Hagel said the US would “not look the other way” when nations ignored international rules.
Mr Hagel was speaking at a three-day summit – the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore – that involves the US and South-East Asian countries.
He also urged Thailand’s coup leaders to restore democratic rule soon.
The forum comes amid growing tensions between China, Vietnam and the Philippines, with Japan-China ties also strained over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
The summit gives senior delegates from the region a chance to meet face-to-face to try to resolve tensions.
‘No to intimidation’
“In recent months, China has undertaken destabilising, unilateral actions asserting its claims in the South China Sea,” Mr Hagel said in his address on Saturday.
Chinese and Vietnamese vessels have confronted each other in disputed waters in the South China Sea
“We firmly oppose any nation’s use of intimidation, coercion, or the threat of force to assert these claims,” he added, referring to the way China has claimed territorial rights over areas of the South China Sea close to Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam.
“All nations of the region, including China, have a choice: to unite, and recommit to a stable regional order, or, to walk away from that commitment and risk the peace and security that has benefited millions of people.”
He said he supported Japan’s offer to play a greater and “more proactive” role in regional security, as promised by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his keynote speech on Friday.
Michael Bristow, BBC Asia analyst
These are strong words from the US defence secretary. Although a number of nations make loud claims for parts of the South China Sea, Chuck Hagel sees China as the destabilising force in the region.
He could point to a number of unilateral moves taken by Beijing over recent months. Deploying a giant oil rig off the coast of Vietnam is just one.
Analysts see a trend. Many think that while the squabbling continues over who has sovereignty over the South China Sea – and the East China Sea – Beijing has quietly decided to take action: by changing the situation on the ground, it makes it hard for other nations to resist its demands.
And China appears to be testing the resolve of the Americans to defend US interests, and those of its allies, in the region. Defence Secretary Hagel said the US would not look the other way. But what can America do? And how far does China have to go before Washington decides to resist?
What are the disputes in South China Sea?
Prime Minister Abe earlier offered to provide coastal boats to neighbouring countries wary of Beijing’s tactics.
Chinese officials said Mr Abe was using the “myth” of a China threat to strengthen Japan’s security policy.
Tensions have flared recently, with China declaring an air defence zone in the East China Sea and adopting a more confrontational stance over the disputed islands in the South China Sea, correspondents say.
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Japan’s prime minister wants to play a more active role in regional security, Sharanjit Leyl reports
They say that although some Asean members will be reluctant to antagonise China because of their economic and political ties, others are likely to welcome an increased role from Japan.
Beijing claims a U-shaped swathe of the South China Sea that covers areas other South-East Asian nations say are their territory.
Military aid suspended
Turning to recent events in Thailand, Mr Hagel called on the coup authorities to release those it had detained and immediately to hold free and fair elections.
Until this happened, he said, the US would suspend all military assistance and engagement with Bangkok.
Thailand’s Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha gave his first televised address since the coup
His remarks came hours after Thailand’s coup leader Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said elections would not be held for more than a year, speaking in a televised address.
Gen Prayuth announced a three-phase plan leading up to the new elections, which includes two to three months of reconciliation and a year of drafting a new constitution and reforms.
The US and Thailand have long been allies – and have particularly strong military ties – so this will hurt more than the general condemnation that has been heard since the coup, says the BBC’s Jonah Fisher.
But it is still unlikely to make much difference to Gen Prayuth, our correspondent adds.
In immediate reaction, China described Hagel’s statement and call as a “Threat”.
31 May 2014| last updated at 07:47PM
China slams US defence chief for ‘threats’
BEIJING: A Chinese military official on Saturday blasted the United States for making “threats” after the US defence chief accused Beijing of inflaming tensions in the disputed South China Sea, state television reported.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had denounced China’s “destabilising, unilateral actions asserting its claims in the South China Sea,” at a security forum in Singapore which both officials are attending.
The Chinese army’s deputy chief of staff Wang Guanzhong described Hagel’s comments at the Shangri-La Dialogue as baseless.
“Secretary Hagel’s speech is full of threats and intimidating language.
Secretary Hagel’s speech is full of encouragement, incitement for the Asia region’s instability giving rise to a disturbance,” state broadcaster China Central Television quoted Wang as telling reporters.
“Secretary Hagel, in this kind of public space with many people, openly criticised China without reason. This accusation is completely without basis,” Wang said.
Tensions have recently flared in the South China Sea, claimed almost entirely by China, which has lately taken bold steps to enforce what it says are its historical rights.
Wang added the value of the Shangri-La Dialogue was to encourage exchanges, sometimes blunt, between governments and think-tanks but China should not be accused without basis, CCTV said.
China’s official Xinhua news agency on Saturday accused the United States of raising tensions in Asia, following Hagel’s speech.
“The United States has been trying to practise its approach of ensuring the safety of its allies by maintaining its military dominance,” it said.
“It even adopted the strategy of stoking fires to do this with the influence felt and visibly seen behind the tensions on the South China Sea.”
China has sought to counter Washington’s foreign policy “pivot” to Asia, but it has also angered Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines — the latter two US allies — with what those countries say are aggressive moves in separate maritime rows.
Relations between China and Vietnam have worsened after Beijing sent a deep-water oil drilling rig into contested waters in the South China Sea.
The Philippines accuses China of reclaiming land on a disputed reef within its exclusive economic zone under a United Nations convention, while Beijing and Tokyo have a long-running feud over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
On Friday, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue, vowed that his country would play a larger role in promoting peace in Asia and called for the rule of law to be upheld in the region.
Another commentary published by Xinhua on Saturday dismissed the speech as seeking to mask Japan’s military ambitions.
“Such rhetoric is fundamentally flawed when it came from the nationalist leader who has been trying to conjure up the militarist past of Japan in a drive to re-arm his country,” it said.
Read more: China slams US defence chief for ‘threats’ – Latest – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/latest/china-slams-us-defence-chief-for-threats-1.608996#ixzz33JY4yRiA
The fact is that China’s protagonism strengthened United States allies within Asia-Pacific nations such as Japan, South Korea, Australia and Taiwan and formed closer co-operation with Singapore, the Philippines and now Veitnam.