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China Offers New Security Concept at ASEAN Meetings
China, in a position paper distributed Thursday, proposed a new security concept with mutual trust, mutual benefit, quality and coordination at its core.

The document was released by the Chinese delegation attending the annual talks between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members and over a dozen of other states, which ended later in the day in Bandar Seri Begawan.

The paper expounds the background, the main contents of the concept, and China's practice in pursuing the new security idea.

The following are main points of the paper:

  • The new security concept is, in essence, to rise above one-sided security and seek common security through mutually beneficial cooperation. It is a concept established on the basis of common interests and is conducive to social progress.

  • China is a strong advocate of the new security concept. In 1996, in light of the trend of the times and the characteristics of the Asia-Pacific region, China put forward the initiative that countries in the region jointly cultivate a new concept of security, which focuses on enhancing trust through dialogue and promoting security through cooperation.

    Since the Chinese leaders have called for the establishment of a new security concept on many occasions both at bilateral meetings and multi-lateral fora in recent years, the new security concept has become an important component of China's foreign policies.

  • In China's view, the core of such new security concept should include mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination.

    Mutual trust means that all countries should transcend differences in ideology and social system, discard the mentality of Cold War and power politics and refrain from mutual suspicion and hostility. They should maintain frequent dialogue and mutual briefings on each other's security and defense policies and major operations.

    Mutual benefit means that all countries should meet the objective needs of social development in the era of globalization, respect each other's security interests and create conditions for others' security while ensuring their own security interests with a view to achieving common security.

    Equality means that all countries, big or small, are equal members of the international community and should respect each other, treat each other as equals, refrain from interfering in other countries' internal affairs and promote the democratization of the international relations.

    Coordination means that all countries should seek peaceful settlement of their disputes through negotiation and carry out wide-ranging and deep-going cooperation on security issues of mutual concern so as to remove any potential dangers and prevent the outbreak of wars and conflicts.

    China maintains that cooperation under the new security concept should be flexible and diversified in form and model. It could be a multi-lateral security mechanism of relatively strong binding force or a forum-like multi-lateral security dialogue. It could also be a confidence-building bilateral security dialogue or a non-governmental dialogue of an academic nature.

    Security cooperation is not just something for countries with similar or identical views and mode of development, it also includes cooperation between countries whose views and mode of development differ.

  • China is working actively to put the new security concept into practice. Our experience gives full evidence to the feasibility of the new security concept.

    China is vigorously seeking settlement of dispute with its neighbors through peaceful negotiation. Up to now, China has resolved the land boundary question with most of its neighboring countries. Disputes over territorial land and water are no longer an obstacle for China and its neighbors to develop normal cooperation and good-neighborly relations and jointly build regional security.

    China sees the economic exchange and interaction as an important avenue to a lasting security in its surrounding area. As an active participant in regional economic cooperation of various kinds, China is working closely with other countries in the region for a multi-channel, multi-dimensional and multi-faceted new economic cooperation in this part of the world.

    China is working for the establishment and development of a regional security dialogue and cooperation mechanism. China believes that the key guarantee for Asian-Pacific security comes from a regional security framework featuring dialogue instead of confrontation. To this end, China has placed great importance on and taken an active part in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

    (People's Daily August 2, 2002)

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