Commentary: General Xiong Guangkai's Address

On May 9 2008, General (retired) Xiong Guangkai, Chairman of the China Institute for International and Strategic Studies (CIISS) gave a speech highlighting three major adjustments to China’s security policy.

On May 9 2008, General (retired) Xiong Guangkai, Chairman of the China Institute for International and Strategic Studies (CIISS) gave a speech highlighting three major adjustments to China’s security policy:

• Paying great attention to both traditional and non-traditional security threats.

• Giving much weight both to military and political security as well as economic, cultural, information, financial, energy, climate and public health security.

• Giving full weight both to strengthening China’s own security and to showing solicitude for international security cooperation.

General Xiong emphasised that China’s security policy today is based on China’s status as the world’s largest developing country and China’s strategic path towards peaceful development.

In the wake of 9/11, non-traditional security threats have increased steadily. Gen Xiong asserted that the military solution in response to terrorism should not be the only solution. The best strategy should be comprehensive measures addressing both external symptoms and root causes, whilst boosting international cooperation through dialogue and negotiation.

Beyond the military and political security of China, Gen Xiong emphasised the following concerns in particular:

Energy Security

As the world’s second biggest energy consumer and producer, China adheres to a strategy centered on domestic resources, priority to energy conservation, the promotion of multilateral development and co-operation.

China’s new energy security thinking focuses on 'reciprocal co-operation, multi-dimensional development and coordinated support'.

Climate Security

China adheres to the 'common but different liability' principle defined by the 'UN Framework Convention on Climate Change'. Developed countries must assist developing countries and adhere to their obligations of reducing emissions after 2012.

China has not only signed both the 'UN Framework Convention on Climate Change' and the 'Kyoto Protocol' but has also promulgated the policy paper: 'China’s National Programme for Dealing with Climate Change'. This paper set national objectives to trim 20 per cent of unit GDP energy consumption against that of 2005 and to extend forest coverage by 20 per cent by 2010.

Public Health Security

China has established notification mechanisms for reporting serious infectious diseases such as avian flu and has increased international exchange and cooperation in this regard.

By April this year 381 people had contracted avian flu (H5N1) world-wide of whom 240 died. In China, of thirty people infected only ten survived.

International Security Co-operation

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has devoted itself to defending the authority and role of the UN. In dealing with the current flash points such as the nuclearisation of Iran and the Korean Peninsula, China has actively pushed for a political settlement but only to impose sanctions through non-military means.

By the end of April 2008, Chinese forces had participated in eighteen UN peacekeeping operations, fielding 10,010 military personnel. China outnumbers all the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council in terms of committing troops to UN peacekeeping operations.

The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) is a new type of international co-operation organisation playing an important role in maintaining regional stability and boosting the steady social, economic and cultural development of member states. The core of the 'Shanghai Spirit' is consistent with China’s new security concept of 'mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and co-ordination'.


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