China has invited Asian countries to join it in framing a security governance model with “Asian features” to counter the U.S. ‘rebalance’ to the region.
China’s formal invite to neighbours to pursue a regional security doctrine that is led by China, came during foreign ministerial Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in the Chinese capital Beijing.
President Xi Jiniping urged participants “to build consensus and step up dialogue” to foster “a security governance model with Asian features”.
The write-up said the “new model” is the latest contribution China has made to regional governance.
Details about what could emerge as China-centric collective security architecture in the Asia-Pacific are still a work-in-progress.
The write-up grounded the rationale for its new initiative on the failure of the ‘Pivot to Asia’ or ‘rebalance’ doctrine of the Obama administration. It asserted that “the launch of the Asia-Pacific rebalance strategy by the U.S. in recent years did not bring Asia peace, but only uncertainty”.
Tensions between the U.S. and China have spiked after the Chinese responded to the ‘pivot’ with fresh activism in the South China Sea, including construction of artificial islands within waters claimed and controlled by China.
USA has dubbed the growing Chinese assertion as a danger to “freedom of navigation” which could hamper the $5.3 trillion trade that passes through the South China Sea — a charge that China denies.
Aware of the linkage between the disputes and the acceptance of its doctrinal counter to the U.S. ‘pivot’, the Chinese leaders, during the CICA conference, had “a frank talk about the South China Sea issue and reiterated China’s ‘dual-track approach’, calling for relevant countries to work together with China to safeguard peace and stability”.
In the run up to the espousal of its new doctrine, the Chinese have launched a regional diplomatic offensive to reinforce that an Asian home-grown solution was the best way to resolve maritime disputes confronting the region.
Last month Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi embarked on a whirlwind visit to Cambodia, Laos and Brunei, to cull out what the Chinese Foreign Ministry described as “an important consensus” on the South China Sea issue, which would be relevant to the Association of South East Asian Nations.