Three pillars to hold up Asia

Three pillars to hold up Asia
Japan Coast Guard vessel PS206 Houou sails in front of Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea on Aug 18, 2013.

In the age of globalisation, the interests of countries have never been so closely interconnected. More and more Asians have come to realise that Asia is a community of shared destiny.

China has high expectations of an Asian community of shared destiny with its 14 land neighbours and eight across the sea.

However, we need three pillars to support this Asian community.

First, as a community of shared interests, Asian countries should complement each other's strengths through cooperation and tighten the bonds of common interests and economic integration.

Second, as a community of shared responsibility, mutual understanding and trust need to be enhanced and regional peace and stability need to be jointly promoted

Third, as a community of people and culture, inclusiveness and mutual learning needs to be encouraged to make Asia a harmonious family.

To build the foundation of peace and stability for the Asian community, countries need to foster new concepts and approaches to security.

Old security concepts based on a Cold War mentality and zero-sum game are being overtaken by the new trend of regional economic integration. Strengthening bilateral military alliances and ensuring absolute security for oneself will worsen divisions and confrontation.

President Xi Jinping has proposed an Asian Security Concept, one based on common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. This calls for common security through win-win cooperation. It opens up broad new prospects for security cooperation in Asia.

For an Asian community of shared destiny to work, we need to maintain sound bilateral relations, uphold the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and accommodate each other's interests and concerns.

In dealing with territorial and maritime disputes, countries should respect international law and historical facts, and encourage shelving disputes and seeking joint development.

China and Vietnam have delineated the maritime boundary in Beibu Bay and are discussing delimitation and joint development in the outer mouth of Beibu Bay.

The best way for China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries to deal with the South China Sea issue is through the "dual-track" approach, namely, disputes are resolved through negotiations by the countries directly concerned, while peace and stability in the South China Sea are maintained jointly by China and ASEAN countries.

Parties should remain committed to fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and conclude a Code of Conduct based on consensus at an early date. An "early harvest" for a COC is being discussed, including a first document on commonalities, and a joint maritime search and rescue hotline and senior officials' hotline for maritime emergencies.

Based on the lessons of history, we do not favour outside interference in the internal affairs of Asian countries, but at the same time we welcome major countries playing a constructive role in regional security.

For reasons clear to all, there have been serious setbacks in the relations between China and Japan in the past two years. But with the four-point agreement reached earlier this month, we hope Japan will move in the same direction as China to gradually bring the relationship back on track.

China is committed to managing and resolving the Diaoyu Islands dispute through dialogue and consultation, and we urge Japan to face up to history and its responsibilities, and make concrete efforts to improve relations with its neighbours.

Proper handling of hotspot issues is an integral part of building the Asian community.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea nuclear issue must be tackled both in terms of its symptoms and root causes, and China will continue to make efforts to restart the Six-Party Talks.

China hosted the 4th Foreign Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan. China will work with all sides to translate the common understanding and outcomes into concrete actions to support peace, stability and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

Adhering to the spirit of international law and evolving a set of rules and norms is more important than ever for community building in our region. The People's Republic of China was born after World War II, yet the Chinese Government inherited and accepted the international legal order based on the UN Charter. China, India and Myanmar initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence to reflect the spirit of law in international relations.

Earlier this year, China presided over the adoption of the updated Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium. And we have signed memorandums of understanding with the United States on the Notification of Major Military Activities Confidence-Building Measures Mechanism and regarding the Rules of Behavior for Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters. We will continue to encourage the building of mechanisms for managing disputes and crises.

Next year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. This would be a good occasion for Asian countries to reaffirm our shared commitment to peace and stability through international rule of law.

Countries should work together to uphold the post-War international order. Only by facing up to history and learning historical lessons can a country win trust from its neighbours.

Last but not least, community building in Asia requires the fostering of a regional security architecture. Asia is a region of diversity. We cannot simply copy the model of other regions.

Regional multilateral security frameworks such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Six Party Talks, and the ASEAN-led institutions should develop side by side, while strengthening mutual links and interaction.

China has become a major driver for non-traditional security cooperation in the region. China and Malaysia will co-host the fourth ASEAN Regional Forum disaster relief exercises next year aimed at enhancing regional disaster relief cooperation. China will work with other countries to strengthen the safety and security of sea lanes and promote greater maritime cooperation.

Building an Asian community of shared destiny is a worthy endeavour. China is ready to join its neighbours to embark on the journey towards a better future for our region.

The author is China's vice-foreign minister.

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