BEIJING, June 3 (ChinaMil) -- The 15th Shangri-La Dialogue will be held in Singapore from June 3 to 5. Adm. Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), will lead a delegation to the summit.
Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute said in an interview that China's participation in the summit indicated its wish to strengthen cooperation with the defense departments and militaries of all countries and jointly safeguard regional security and world peace, and also displayed Chinese military's open and transparent image.
China's active participation dismisses external doubts
Founded in 2002 and hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Shangri-La Dialogue has got the name because it is held in Singapore's Shangri-La Hotel. Its official name is the Asia Security Summit, which sets up a platform of communication for defense ministers, military officers, experts and scholars from all countries.
Zhang Junshe said the Shangri-La Dialogue has become an exchange platform that has drawn close attention from the Asia Pacific and the world at large, and many defense organizations and think tanks from various countries have joined it to discuss regional security issues, especially non-traditional security issues such as anti-terrorism.
The summit creates an opportunity for different countries to enhance defense communication and mutual understanding, which is conducive to improving the capability of jointly dealing with security threats and safeguarding regional and world peace, according to Zhang.
It's worth noting that although Shangri-La Dialogue is a security forum dominated by the west, China has sent delegations to it in the past few years, not only continuously raising the level and increasing the number of participants, but also adopting an ever more active attitude.
Adm. Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China’s CMC, will lead a delegation to the Shangri-La Dialogue this year, at which he will deliver a speech, hold bilateral and multilateral meetings with defense and military dealers from different countries, introduce the Chinese military's policies, concepts and practices in enhancing security cooperation in the Asia Pacific and improving regional security governance, and put forth initiatives and suggestions.
Members of the Chinese delegation include Guan Youfei, director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of the CMC, Jin Yinan, professor at the Department of Strategic Studies at the PLA National Defense University (NDU), and Yao Yunzhu, researcher at Department of Foreign Military Studies of the Academy of Military Science.
According to Zhang Junshe, China's active participation in the summit reflected its wish to strengthen cooperation with the defense departments and militaries of all countries and jointly safeguard regional security and world peace. Through this platform, China hopes to show the world its stance and policies to settle disputes peacefully and discuss with all countries about ways of jointly dealing with security threats, so as to work together for regional peace and stability.
He added that Chinese delegation's participation in the summit over the years has played a positive role in disseminating China's defensive national defense policies, its stance of peacefully settling disputes through consultation and negotiation, dismissing external doubts about its military growth, and demonstrating the open and transparent image of the Chinese military.
Hyping up the South China Sea issue won't help solve the problem
Recently the Pentagon confirmed that U.S. defense secretary Ashton Carter will attend the summit in Singapore and will meet with Japanese defense minister Gen Nakatani during the summit. Carter will lead a high-level delegation comprising senior military officers including John Richardson, U.S. Navy’s chief of naval operations, and Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command.
As a key "clique" in strategy of “Rebalance to Asia Pacific”, Carter and Harris have recently made many tough remarks against China, and it is expected that the U.S. delegation will hype up the South China Sea issue again at the summit.
"The U.S. will definitely broach the South China Sea issue at Shangri-La Dialogue, but it will have to think carefully as to how and what to bring up about that topic because it needs to find a sound enough reason to make waves," said military expert Teng Jianqun in an interview.
Zhang Junshe held that in the past few years, certain countries have used the Shangri-La Dialogue as a platform to hype up the South China Sea issue, throwing groundless accusations and slanders against China's legitimate assertions and reasonable and lawful island construction activities in that region.
On one hand, this has given countries that are in maritime disputes with China more confidence to provoke China; on the other hand, this will shadow the region with tension. Most Southeast Asian countries have announced publicly that they don't want to see conflicts between China and the U.S. in the South China Sea or take sides between the two countries, and they endorse China's position of peacefully settling the South China Sea disputes through negotiation and consultation. This shows that certain countries' groundless accusation and slander against China is in no way helpful for settling the South China Sea disputes, but will take a toll on the regional situation.