Debate: Regional ties

Updated: 2011-12-19 08:10

(China Daily)

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Washington's strategy is the result of its "hegemonic" mindset and "declining power". But US leaders should realize that their efforts to contain China will not only fail, but also hurt the US.

What's more, unlike China, which firmly supports ASEAN playing the leading role in East Asia's integration, the US tried to undermine ASEAN's role in the region the first time it got to participate in the East Asia Summit in November.

In fact, no ASEAN member state truly wants to contain China's rise in accordance with Washington's wishes. Hillary Clinton did pay an unprecedented visit to Myanmar. But opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi emphasized the importance of maintaining good terms with China when Clinton met her. Which means Myanmar, too, will not help the US to contain China.

China has the sincerity, confidence, and patience to resolve the disputes with its neighbors. China doesn't believe in Cold War politics and it certainly doesn't have any hegemonic intentions. Instead, it seeks "harmony without uniformity", "peace, development and cooperation" and "win-win cooperation". China seeks to cooperate with all countries and avoid confrontation in order to build partnerships of mutual benefit and mutual respect.

Therefore, the US leaders should act like wise statesmen and focus on cooperation with China, for it is the best and only way the Asia-Pacific region can benefit.

The author is executive director of the Strategy Research Center of China International Studies Research Fund and a former senior APEC official.

Cao Xiaoyang and Zhang Jie

A great challenge awaits Asia-Pacific neighbors

Compared with 2010, China's security environment hasn't improved much this year. As things stand today, China faces five main problems: the stalemate on the Korean Peninsula, strengthening of the United States-Japan alliance, intensification of maritime territorial disputes, escalating an arms race and rising non-traditional challenges, with non-traditional challenges to China's maritime security being especially serious.

It seems difficult to resume the Six-Party Talks, an essential channel of keeping the situation under control in the powder keg that the Korean Peninsula is, because of the stance Republic of Korea (ROK) President Lee Myung-bak has taken. Many a time this year the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has tried to ease the tension by reaching out to the US and the ROK. It even suggested it was willing to resume the Six-Party Talks unconditionally. But the meeting between the ROK and the DPRK delegates during the ASEAN forums in July didn't produce the desired results.

By far the biggest obstacle to the resumption of the Six-Party Talks is the insistence of the US, Japan and the ROK that the DPRK take certain measures to prove its "sincerity" before the talks can be resumed.

This year has also seen the Philippines and Vietnam adopting a tough stance over their territorial disputes with China. The US has consolidated its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region by using the "China threat" theory after China conducted the trial run of its first aircraft carrier. All these indicate that the South China Sea disputes will be the focus of Sino-US strategic competition.

In fact, most of China's neighbors, including the Philippines and Vietnam, have strengthened their armed forces and deepened their military cooperation with the US to "deal" with a rising China. Almost all the ASEAN member states are strengthening their armed forces and cooperating more closely with the US. Australia considers China the biggest military power in Asia, while Japan sees China as its main competitor in its defense program.

Though China has been reiterating that its defense policy is defensive, its neighbors are likely to continue increasing their defense budgets. So China and its neighboring countries need to deepen their mutual understanding on security to avoid being part of an arms race.