Domestic and foreign experts attend the Seminar on Sun Tzu's Art of War at the 10th Beijing Xiangshan Forum on October, 29, 2023. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Sun Yue)
By Li Weichao
BEIJING, Oct. 30 -- The first seminar of the 10th Beijing Xiangshan Forum, the Seminar on Sun Tzu's Art of War, was held at the Beijing International Convention Center on Sunday. Under the theme of Sun Tzu's Art of War and Current International Security Challenges, six experts and scholars from China, Türkiye, Switzerland, India and the US had in-depth exchanges and heated discussion.
A lasting legacy for all
All experts involved agreed that Sun Tzu's art of war is a lasting legacy that was bequeathed by ancient Chinese sages not only to the Chinese people today but to the people of the whole world. David Finkelstein, vice president, Center of Navy Analysis, USA, said that Sun Tzu's art of war is not only a treasure of China, but also a treasure of the world. The experience and lessons of Sun Tzu's art of war still have practical significance today.
Senior Colonel Hou Angyu, a research fellow with the Chinese PLA Academy of Military Science, noted that Sun Tzu's art of war belongs not only to China, but also to the world, not only to the history, but also to the future.
Major General Bal Krishan Sharma, director general of the United Service Institution of India, held that Sun Tzu's art of war has a value that goes beyond the limits of times. For example, Sun Tzu stressed the importance of diplomacy, intelligence, psychological warfare, and subduing the enemy without fighting, which can all be applied to the modern wars.
Domestic and foreign experts attend the Seminar on Sun Tzu's Art of War at the 10th Beijing Xiangshan Forum on October, 29, 2023. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Li Weichao)
China's military strategy reflects ancient Chinese wisdom
One idea that was mentioned frequently at the Seminar is Sun Tzu's military thought of subduing the enemy without fighting. Michael Vatikiotis, senior adviser from the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, Switzerland, pointed out that the focus of Sun Tzu's art of war is not entirely about fighting, but about how to avoid war. To win a war in a non-violent way is very much in line with the traditional Chinese culture and ancient Chinese philosophy, which places great importance on peace and harmony.
Senior Colonel Hou Angyu, a research fellow with the Chinese PLA Academy of Military Science, said Sun Tzu's art of war reflects the sage's cautious outlook on war and his respect for life. According to Sun Tzu, to subdue the enemy without fighting is the utmost benevolence. This kind of wisdom is not only passed on from generation to generation in China, but still influences China's modern military strategy, for instance, China's national defense policy that is defensive in nature. What's more, it has spread to more countries and enlightened more people.
Sava Biçer, a lecturer from the National Defense University, Türkiye, pointed out that Sun Tzu's art of war is universally recognized as a piece of classic military work and is a must-read book at the National Defense University, Türkiye. Many elements from the book, such as strategic plan, resource management and understanding of enemy, can also be applied to non-military areas. Today, Sun Tzu's art of war continues to inspire us to address global security issues, mitigate regional conflicts and make our world more safe and peaceful.
Senior Colonel Li Yuanpeng, an associate research fellow with the Chinese PLA Academy of Military Sciences summarized that as a symbol of Chinese traditional culture, Sun Tzu's art of war has exerted and will continue to exert a profound influence in China and the world.
The popularity of the Seminar on Sun Tzu's Art of War reflects the glamour of Chinese traditional culture and China's ancient military wisdom, and foretells a huge success of this year's Beijing Xiangshan Forum.