China-US should strengthen dialogue to avoid wars

By Wu Fei
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 25, 2015
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The 14th annual IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies) Asia Security Summit took place on May 29-31 in Singapore's Shangri-La Hotel, which attracted much global attention as invited participants discussed geopolitical security concerns from international terrorism to regional military conflicts. The Forum, known as the Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD), first launched in 2002, has become more influential to establish a better military balance among countries in the Asia-Pacific.

This year, China and the US did not get embroiled in bitter disputes over the South China Sea issue. Chinese delegates and research fellows did their best to convince numerous delegates in attendance with Beijing's point of view. Chinese civilian and military diplomats have gotten more mature and steady when communicating with the international community. Military and government officials, as well as research fellows supporting Chinese interests seek greater cooperation with its Asian neighbors and the diplomatic community, along with the outside world.

Enhance China-US bilateral dialogues

With tensions rising over the South China Sea, it is necessary to set up effective mechanisms or institutes for solving problems between China and the Unites States. While they have established some contacts, it still is not enough. So the Chinese Defense Ministry, along with relevant government departments and researchers, are pursuing unique approaches to encourage more dialogue to prevent accidents stemming from military conflicts before the South China Sea could be resolved in a peaceful manner.

China knows the uncertainties from the US government decision-making process. During the Cold War, the US got contacted with China in attempt to deal with the Soviet Union. However, Washinton has now seen China as its potential enemy. And China and Russia have now resumed their traditional friendship due to geopolitical security demands and economic inter-dependence. President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to cooperate for the next decade to embrace a more smooth bilateral diplomatic strategy.

The Asia-Pacific region faces a more precarious position for its integration, because all Asian countries are enjoying greater prosperity and global influence. Nonetheless, neither China nor Russia desires a war against the US. Yet, this could be misunderstood since China is modernizing its defense forces to match its economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region. China has thus promoted more dialogues with the US. Besides the US administration, it is seeking to talk to US Congress, think tanks and media.

Let Asian countries choose their positions to avoid wars

The Chinese government should also include US Congress into its China-US dialogue to reduce unnecessary diplomatic tensions. Meanwhile, Japan remains a source of heightened tensions in the Asia-Pacific even in the aftermath of World War II. The US has shown stronger support for Japanese right-wing parties in recent years.

Pro-Japan think tanks have played a pivotal role to discuss Asian security issues that support Tokyo and call for stronger ties with the Pentagon, while urging a weakened role of the US State Department in efforts to bolster ties between the US and Japan.

If Japanese right-wing parties further inflame US-China relations, other Asian countries will have no choice but to take sides between China and the US. This is not a healthy and helpful scenario either for China or the US. The right direction is to strengthen negotiations among the NGOs, think tanks from both China and the US to achieve common national interests for more stable Asia-Pacific security.

The US has already ignited unsuccessful wars in Asia in the last half of the 20th Century. Washington never expected that soldiers from Asian countries would fight to the death in wars of attrition. Asian countries keep fighting no matter how long it takes and how much they suffer in order to win victory.

China knows clearly the wisdom from the "the Arts of War" written by ancient Chinese philosopher, Sun-Tsu, who believes that the best policy for the art of war is to avoid wars without bloodshed and to pursue diplomacy instead.

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