‘Shared re­spon­si­bil­ity’ em­pha­sized

Pre­mier also pledges to deal with ter­ri­to­rial provo­ca­tions res­o­lutely

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUNBI in Bei­jing zhangyunbi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang set out a vi­sion of “shared re­spon­si­bil­ity” as one of three pil­lars for the Asian com­mu­nity at a ma­jor re­gional con­fer­ence on Thurs­day.

He also stated Bei­jing’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to han­dle ter­ri­to­rial provo­ca­tions.

“We will give to­tal sup­port to ini­tia­tives that help strengthen mar­itime co­op­er­a­tion. On the other hand, we will re­spond res­o­lutely to provo­ca­tions that un­der­mine peace and sta­bil­ity in the South China Sea,” Li said at the Boao Fo­rum for Asia An­nual Con­fer­ence.

Li did not re­fer to any coun­try by name, but the Philip­pines re­cently ini­ti­ated a num­ber of in­flam­ma­tory ac­tions to boost its il­le­gal claims on China’s Ren’ai Reef and Huangyan Is­land in the South China Sea.

Li men­tioned the sit­u­a­tion as he ex­plained his vi­sion about an Asian “com­mu­nity of shared re­spon­si­bil­ity”. To achieve this goal, Li high­lighted the need for greater com­bined ef­forts to “se­cure the over­all cli­mate of peace­ful de­vel­op­ment”.

On the eco­nomic front, Li said Asian coun­tries need to build a com­mu­nity of “shared in­ter­ests” and “com­mon des­tiny” — the other two pil­lars — in or­der to weather fi­nan­cial storms and boost re­gional eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and free trade.

Ex­perts in re­gional af­fairs said this was the first time a top fig­ure in China enun­ci­ated the con­cept of the “three pil­lars of the Asian com­mu­nity”.

Wang Dong, di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for North­east Asian Strate­gic Stud­ies at Pek­ing Univer­sity, said the pre­mier set out a strong and con­vinc­ing ar­gu­ment to tell the world that China is fully shoul­der­ing its du­ties as a ma­jor power.

“There have been a large num­ber of voices ac­cus­ing China of be­hav­ing ir­re­spon­si­bly, and ac­cus­ing it of pos­ing a threat to Asia re­gard­ing ter­ri­to­rial is­sues. Li has made it clear that China is ded­i­cated to guard­ing the peace and China will not be swerved by po­lit­i­cal con­spir­a­cies,” Wang said.

Wu Shi­cun, head of the Na­tional In­sti­tute of South China Sea Stud­ies, said the Philip­pines may har­vest some short-term, triv­ial ben­e­fits from its lat­est provo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing its ap­peal for in­ter­na­tional ar­bi­tra­tion, but it will “end up as the big­gest loser” if it stirs up trou­ble in the re­gion.

Li’s views on “shared re­spon­si­bil­i­ties” were echoed by for­mer Ja­panese prime min­is­ter Ya­suo Fukuda in an ad­dress to the fo­rum.

“In or­der to main­tain the de­vel­op­ment of Asia, ev­ery na­tion should not only fo­cus on it­self, but also con­sider the in­ter­ests of the en­tire re­gion, even the whole world,” said Fukuda, the fo­rum’s chair­man of the board of di­rec­tors

All stake­hold­ers of Asia “must be re­spon­si­ble for their own words and ac­tions, other­wise sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, ei­ther eco­nom­i­cally or so­cially, will be im­pos­si­ble,” Fukuda said.

The pre­mier also high­lighted the im­por­tance of a peace­ful and sta­ble re­gional en­vi­ron­ment for Asia.

Christo­pher Lu, chief part­ner of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, a ma­jor fi­nan­cial con­sul­tancy, said he was im­pressed by Li’s re­marks about in­ter­de­pen­dence and com­mon de­vel­op­ment, say­ing that the three-pil­lar com­mu­nity con­cept “will be a fa­cil­i­ta­tor for the en­tire in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment of the Asian re­gion”.

“China is seek­ing a tran­si­tion of its role from an ob­server and a par­tic­i­pant to a leader in for­mu­lat­ing trade rules,” Lu said.

The three-pil­lar view of build­ing a com­mu­nity be­tween China and spe­cific re­gional blocs has been sketched grad­u­ally by the evolv­ing diplo­matic agen­das in the past years.

For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi men­tioned the three-pil­lar view — in­clud­ing shared re­spon­si­bil­ity — in the con­text of Chi­naSouth­east Asia ties when meet­ing se­nior In­done­sian diplo­mats in July.

In Septem­ber, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping called on China and mem­ber states of the Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion to build a China-Cen­tral Asia com­mu­nity to pur­sue a com­mon des­tiny and shared in­ter­ests.

When vis­it­ing In­done­sia in Oc­to­ber, Xi also called for the es­tab­lish­ment of a China-ASEAN com­mu­nity of com­mon des­tiny.

Yang Cheng, deputy di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for Rus­sian Stud­ies at the East China Nor­mal Univer­sity in Shang­hai, said the com­mu­nity con­cept is ac­tu­ally China’s po­lit­i­cal com­mit­ment to its neigh­bors on open­ness, equal­ity and shar­ing.

“China is get­ting rid of the rel­a­tively pas­sive par­a­digm (in in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics) and act­ing more proac­tively to share the div­i­dends re­leased by its do­mes­tic growth. China is set­ting an agenda within a global scope,” Yang said.

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