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Chinese FM Gives Stand on Asia-Pacific Security Issues at ASEAN Forum
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Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Thursday gave a comprehensive outline of China's stand and view on the security situation of the Asia-Pacific region.

Addressing the 14th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) held in the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Yang highlighted the need for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to adopt a new thinking on security and dumping the old thinking on security which had done a lot of harm in the past century.

Yang said peace, development and cooperation have remained the general trend in the Asia-Pacific region in the past year, as the economy in the region has maintained good momentum of growth and inter-dependence among Asia-Pacific countries is growing.

He said friendly exchanges among countries in the region have expanded and deepened, and the relations among major countries remain stable, citing the role being played by ASEAN Plus Three cooperation, as well as good interaction among the ARF, East Asia summit, Asia Cooperation Dialogue and APEC in promoting development and stability.

Yang also said the six-party talks on the Korean Nuclear issue have yielded good progress, moving towards achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

But Yang stressed that Asia-Pacific region still faces many challenges, including acute imbalance in the development, wide wealth gap, tensions and conflicts, non-traditional security issues, and problems concerning energy, resources, ecology and environment.

Yang pointed out that under the influence of the Cold War mentality, there is a trend among certain countries in the Asia-Pacific region towards building up bilateral military alliances to gain absolute military superiority over others.

"This undermines efforts to build political mutual trust, cause uncertainty to regional security and has become a source of concern to people," he said, adding "Upholding and sustaining the hard-won peace in the Asia-Pacific region is an issue of critical concern to all of us."

Yang said countries in the Asia-Pacific region must learn from the lessons in the past century and build a new thinking on security, which many countries in the region have already begun to adopt and practice since the end of the Cold War.

"As a Chinese saying goes, revisiting the past will give people new inspirations. There is much we can benefit from the new thinking on security as practiced in the Asia-Pacific region in the post Cold War era and the growth of the ARF in the past 14 years," he said.

Yang said the old thinking on security based on security alliances, national strength, deterrence and raw power, instead of bringing security and peace to the world, only subjected it to dominance, conquer and even conflicts and wars in the last century.

Yang said small, weak and poor countries were invariably victims of such policy and practices.

"Asia-Pacific region has enjoyed relative peace since the end of the Cold War because countries in the region have endeavored to foster a new thinking on security rooted in mutual respect and equality," he said.

Yang praised many countries in Asia-Pacific region for recognizing and respecting differences in ideologies, values, social systems and development level, and for transcending such differences and striving to build equal, healthy and sound state-to-state relations.

"They have abandoned the old thinking on and logic of security based on mutual suspicion, raw power and imposing one's own values and ideologies on others. They are thus able to work together to enhance dialogue, exchanges and security cooperation," he said.

Yang cited the ARF and Shanghai Cooperation Organization as examples of following the new thinking on security, with both of them being non-aligned, not targeting at any third country and not defining friend and foe on ideological ground.

Yang said as globalization is gaining pace, security has acquired new dimensions, and security risks are mounting with different security factors being interconnected and exerting impact on one another, which is broadening the scope of security cooperation.
"The countries in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly developing ones, face growing challenge in their efforts to uphold their security in economy, trade, finance, industries, technology, information and culture and addressing non-traditional security issues," he said.

Yang said that as security interests of countries in the region are interconnected, they could focus on common interests, respect diversity, strengthen coordination, put differences in proper perspectives and avoid confrontation when conducting security dialogue and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

"To pursue cooperation based on a particular type of values which runs counter to the goal of achieving common security can only hamper dialogue and cooperation," he added.

Yang said that historical experience and lessons show that dialogue and cooperation are important and effective ways to deepen understanding and trust, narrow differences and defuse conflict, and bilateral alliances and military means by themselves will neither settle disputes nor foster enduring peace.

He noted the new thinking on security "takes mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation as its core values" and is "comprehensive in nature and aims to promote common security, development and cooperation".

(Xinhua News Agency August 2, 2007)

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