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China's Position Paper on the New Security Concept

I. Introduction

Mankind has experienced the scourge of countless wars, particularly, the two world wars and the four-decade confrontation of cold war in the last century. As proven by history, force cannot fundamentally resolve disputes and conflicts, and the security concept and regime based on the use of force and the threat to use force can hardly bring about lasting peace. It is the common call of people to discard the old way of thinking and replace it with new concepts and means to seek and safeguard security. Against this backdrop, the new security concept featuring dialogue and cooperation has emerged as one of the trends of the times.

II. Background

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.

After the cold war, the international situation has become characterized by relaxed international relations and growing world economy. Under the new historical conditions, the meaning of the security concept has evolved to be multifold with its contents extending from military and political to economic, science and technology, environment, culture and many other areas. The means to seek security are being diversified. Strengthening dialogue and cooperation is regarded as the fundamental approach to common security. The September 11 incident has glaringly demonstrated that security threats in today's world tend to be multi-faceted and global in scope. Countries share greater common security interests and are more interdependent on one another for security.

An increasing number of countries wish to build national and international security on the basis of the following principles:

--To conduct cooperation on the basis of the UN Charter, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and other widely recognized norms governing international relations, and give full play to the leading role of the United Nations;

--To peacefully resolve territorial and border disputes and other controversial issues through negotiations;

--To reform and improve the existing international economic and financial organizations and promote common prosperity in line with the principle of reciprocity and mutual benefit and common development;

--To place emphasis on non-traditional security areas such as combating terrorism and transnational crimes, in addition to the traditional security areas like preventing foreign invasion and safeguarding territorial integrity;

--To conduct effective disarmament and arms control with broad participation in line with the principle of justice, comprehensiveness, rationality and balance, prevent the proliferation of weapons of massive destruction, uphold the current international arms control and disarmament regime and refrain from arms race.

The formation and development of the foregoing ideas about security represent progress in human civilization and constitute the basis of the new security concept.

III. Policy

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. The promotion of greater interaction of economic interests is another effective means of safeguarding security.

China believes that ours is a world of diversity, and this is particularly true of the Asia-Pacific region. Given such reality, only mutual-accommodation, mutual-learning and greater cooperation can serve to achieve common progress and development of all nations. Therefore, 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.

IV. Practice

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. It has signed a Beibu Bay demarcation agreement with Viet Nam and is conducting consultations with ASEAN on the code of conduct in the South China Sea. As for the outstanding disputes and issues, China has reached consensus with the parties concerned to maintain peace and stability in the disputed areas and resolve the issues through peaceful means. 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. The development of the regional economic cooperation mechanisms as spearheaded by the 10+3 cooperation in East Asia have not only brought real and tangible economic benefits to the countries concerned, but also enhanced the mutual exchange, mutual trust and cooperation between all parties involved, thus contributing to the security and stability of the region.

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).

The SCO is a successful case of the new security concept. Since the launching of "Shanghai 5" process in 1996, China, Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz and Kazakhstan have successively signed The Agreement on Confidence Building Measures in Military Field along the Border Areas and The Agreement on Mutual Reduction of Military Forces along the Border Areas, and have properly resolved their border issues left from history through friendly consultation. The "Shanghai 5" has taken the lead in making an unequivocal stand and proposition of combating terrorism, separatism and extremism. Since the founding of SCO, the six member states have successively signed The Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism and The Agreement on Regional Counter-terrorism Agency. The SCO members have taken an active part in the international and regional counter-terrorism campaign and worked steadily for greater regional economic cooperation. And they are strong advocates of the security cooperation model of non-alignment, non-confrontation and non-targeting at any other countries or regions

The ARF has made positive progress in promoting confidence building measures and the preventive diplomacy. The Forum seeks to promote security through dialogue on an equal footing. Such an approach is in line with the new security concept. In response to the situation after September 11, the Forum has placed greater emphasis on non-traditional security issues and has started substantive discussions on and collaboration in their solution. All this has added to the vitality of the Forum and helped to promote mutual trust and cooperation.


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