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Kor Kian Beng, China Bureau Chief In Beijing

Don't bet on China's 'Asia for Asians only' vision yet

Published on May 30, 2014 1:14 PM
Chinese President Xi Jinping, flanked by Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, unveiled a new "Asian security concept" in Shanghai last week. -- PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

China may not admit so, but President Xi Jinping's call at a little-known regional security forum for Asian states to take charge of Asian security is clearly aimed at eroding the United States' influence in the region.

However, Beijing's success at achieving an Asia-for-Asians-only security landscape appears to be a long shot. Rising fears over China's growing assertiveness in territorial disputes and regional matters may actually drive some of its neighbours to seek a greater US presence, if not US protection.

In his speech at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (Cica) summit in Shanghai last week, the Chinese leader unveiled a new "Asian security concept", a message that can be boiled down to: Asian security should be left to Asians, not outsiders like the US.

Mr Xi, flanked by leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, took an indirect swipe at the security pacts the US has with Japan and the Philippines, describing them as harmful to regional peace as these ensure only "security for one or a few countries while leaving the rest insecure".

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