Modi praises China ties at Shangri-La

Se­cu­rity fo­rum as US war­ships prowl sea

Global Times - Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Liu Jianxi in Sin­ga­pore

The 17th Shangri-La Di­a­logue (SLD), a mul­ti­lat­eral plat­form on Asia-Pa­cific de­fense and se­cu­rity, kicked off Fri­day in Sin­ga­pore. Some 600 del­e­gates, in­clud­ing de­fense min­is­ters and of­fi­cials from 40 coun­tries and re­gions gath­ered in tightly se­cured Shangri-La ho­tel for the three-day event.

This year’s key­note speech by In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi pinned high hopes on co­op­er­a­tion with China.

“No other re­la­tion­ship of In­dia has as many lay­ers as our re­la­tions with China. Our trade is grow­ing. I firmly be­lieve that Asia and the world will have a bet­ter future if In­dia and China work to­gether with trust and con­fi­dence, keep­ing in mind each other’s

in­ter­ests,” Modi said.

The re­marks were wel­comed by Lieu­tenan­tGen­eral He Lei, deputy head of the Academy of Mil­i­tary Sciences of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (PLA), who leads the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion to this year’s SLD.

He praised the re­marks as a friendly and pos­i­tive ges­ture when ad­dress­ing me­dia Fri­day night.

Modi’s re­marks sent a signal of good­will to­ward im­prov­ing China-In­dia ties, which had been soured by a mil­i­tary stand­off last year, Hu Zhiy­ong, a re­search fel­low at the Shang­hai Academy of So­cial Sciences’ In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, told the Global Times on Fri­day.

Modi ad­min­is­tra­tion needs im­proved Chi­naIn­dia ties to help it win more votes in next year’s elec­tion, said Hu. Modi’s re­marks also cre­ate a friendly mood that will help In­dia bet­ter en­gage in next week’s sum­mit of the Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“The In­dia fac­tor is what makes this year’s SLD dif­fer­ent from pre­vi­ous ones,” Zhao Xiaozhuo, a re­search fel­low at the PLA Academy of Mil­i­tary Sciences, told the Global Times on Fri­day.

“The Indo-Pa­cific strat­egy, and the quasi-al­liance be­tween the US, Ja­pan, In­dia and Aus­tralia will not last long.” Zhao said.

On Fri­day, He Lei held bi­lat­eral meet­ings with high-rank­ing of­fi­cers from New Zealand, Sin­ga­pore, South Korea, Aus­tralia and Viet­nam and is ex­pected to speak at Satur­day’s ses­sion on strate­gic im­pli­ca­tions of mil­i­tary de­vel­op­ment in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion.

The mis­sion of the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion is to elab­o­rate China’s for­eign diplo­macy and its de­fen­sive de­fense strat­egy, as well as to show the con­fi­dent im­age of China’s mil­i­tary, said He.

From Wash­ing­ton’s la­bel­ing Beijing a ri­val power in its Na­tional Se­cu­rity Strat­egy, to trade spats and Trump’s with­drawal of China’s in­vi­ta­tion to par­tic­i­pate in naval ex­er­cises, Sino-US re­la­tions have wit­nessed ma­jor changes which will be high­lighted at this year’s SLD.

Liu Lin, a re­search fel­low at the PLA Academy of Mil­i­tary Sciences, ac­knowl­edged there have been twists and turns in Beijing-Wash­ing­ton ties dur­ing Trump’s term, but added that the coun­tries “should not lose con­trol or de­scend into con­fronta­tion, and the two coun­tries have reached con­sen­sus on this.”

She told the Global Times that China and the US should take ad­van­tage of the SLD to deepen mu­tual trust and take con­crete mea­sures to en­sure the smooth de­vel­op­ment of ties.

The an­tic­i­pated sum­mit be­tween Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which could take place on June 12 in Sin­ga­pore, is an­other high­light of the SLD, which has al­lo­cated 90 min­utes to dis­cus­sion on the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean Penin­sula on Satur­day morn­ing.

“Wash­ing­ton-Py­ongyang in­ter­ac­tions are un­likely to re­turn to the pre­vi­ous mode that fea­tured ex­changes of threats,” Zhao said. He be­lieves that all coun­tries look for­ward to the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion on the penin­sula as well as Wash­ing­ton’s good­will to­ward Py­ongyang, but added an es­ca­la­tion of ten­sions could re­oc­cur given the un­pre­dictabil­ity of Trump.

“The mil­i­tary should be prepared for any emer­gency. China is happy to see peace on the Korean Penin­sula, but has made full prepa­ra­tions for all pos­si­bil­i­ties and has the ca­pa­bil­ity to pre­vent the sit­u­a­tion from spi­ral­ing out of con­trol,” said Zhao.

Photo: VCG

The Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion to Shangri-La Di­a­logue, headed by Lieu­tenan­tGen­eral He Lei (cen­ter), ar­rives at the fo­rum in Sin­ga­pore on Fri­day.

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