Dialogue key to peace

By Song Qingrun
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, October 15, 2010
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China adheres to peaceful foreign policy and participates in defense meeting with a pragmatic and cooperative attitude.

The first ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) is expected to help strengthen security and defense cooperation in East Asia and contribute to regional peace and stability.

The meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Tuesday brought together the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its eight Dialogue Partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States. It is a concrete step toward crystallizing the decision by the bloc's defense ministers' meeting in May, to resolve the problem of the long-standing lack of a defense ministerial-level security dialogue mechanism in politically diversified East Asia.

Unlike previous ASEAN regional forums that were dominated by economic and political issues, the first ADMM-Plus is dominated by security issues. Its attendees are mainly defense ministers and military officials without foreign ministers and scholars. The joint declaration signed by participating countries and the pragmatic approach shown by them to promote bilateral and multilateral defense cooperation will surely serve as a milestone toward the construction of a common security mechanism in this region.

As a key player in maintaining regional peace and security, China has consistently made unremitting efforts toward this purpose and also received a high degree of attention at the Hanoi gathering because of a series of events that recently occurred in this region.

Due to the rapid rise of its national strength, which is in sharp contrast with the comparative decline of Western countries, China's normal diplomatic moves to safeguard its national interests have been misinterpreted by some as its "more aggressive than before" attitude in dealing with other countries. A moderate increase in the country's military spending, together with its ever-expanding economic bulk, has again re-ignited the once-latent "China threat" tone.

As the result of growing misgivings among some neighboring nations toward China and the US' strengthened precautions against it, a string of joint military exercises were organized by Washington and its Asian allies over the past months across the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan to the South China Sea and Southeast Asia.

At the foreign ministers' meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum in July, the US and Vietnam did not conceal their attempt to make the South China Sea issue - a regional issue - into an international one.

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