'Joint security' key to One Belt, One Road success

All nations have role in ensuring secure, stable environment, says China minister

BEIJING • China's ambitious initiative to generate economic prosperity by building a new Silk Road will depend on the countries involved ensuring strong security, China's top policeman said, ahead of a summit to discuss President Xi Jinping's pet project.

Leaders from 28 countries will gather in Beijing on May 14-15 for a summit on what China formally calls the Belt and Road Initiative, also known as One Belt, One Road. It envisions expanding trade links between Asia, Africa and Europe, underpinned by billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.

Speaking at a security dialogue on the new Silk Road, domestic security chief Meng Jianzhu said the plan could advance only if there is a secure and stable environment.

"Increasing international cooperation, jointly dealing with risks and challenges, and protecting the security of One Belt, One Road is the joint responsibility of all countries," said the Public Security Ministry, paraphrasing Mr Meng.

Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun said there should be more pragmatic cooperation in such areas as public security, anti- terrorism and protecting overseas interests, Reuters reported. "We hope all sides would foster the concept of common and cooperative security, and establish a sound security cooperation mechanism for the Belt and Road Initiative."

SECURITY COOPERATION

We hope all sides would foster the concept of common and cooperative security, and establish a sound security cooperation mechanism for the Belt and Road Initiative.

PUBLIC SECURITY MINISTER GUO SHENGKUN

The statement did not say which countries attended the forum, but a photo of the event on the ministry's website showed the flags of countries including Pakistan, Russia, Vietnam, Turkey, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Belarus. The ministry added that Mr Chen Wenqing, appointed last year as the new chief of the country's secretive and powerful Ministry of State Security, also attended the forum.

President Xi has moved to strengthen the country's national security apparatus since assuming office more than four years ago, including setting up a new national security commission.

China has legitimate security concerns for many of the countries involved in the new Silk Road, especially in Pakistan where Chinese workers have been attacked by militants, Reuters reported.

In China's far western region of Xinjiang - a key link in the new Silk Road between China and Central Asia - the government has blamed Islamist extremists for attacks in recent years in which hundreds have died. A new bureau for the Xinjiang region has been set up to conduct research on issues and policies in the region, and recommend solutions, reported state-backed tabloid Global Times.

It is also in charge of coordinating between Xinjiang and other areas in China on issues affecting social stability, education, economic development and employment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2017, with the headline ''Joint security' key to One Belt, One Road success'. Print Edition | Subscribe