Xiangshan Forum gives voice to smaller countries: experts

By Yang Sheng, Liu Xuanzun and Li Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/22 23:53:38

Washington should listen to criticism: analyst

Military delegates attend the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing on Tuesday. Photo: VCG

Chinese military experts said Beijing is not organizing an anti-US forum though many representatives from different countries voiced their dissatisfaction and anger at Washington's unilateral and hegemonic behavior, but the US should rethink its inappropriate policies that have offended many in the world.

Military officials from China, Russia and North Korea criticized the US on Monday during the 9th Beijing Xiangshan Forum on its activities like instigating color revolutions, withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and causing a vicious cycle on the Korean Peninsula issue. 

On Tuesday, defense ministers and military officials from other countries, including Serbia, Belarus, Cuba and Singapore, also criticized the US, directly or indirectly, on many issues, such as the "America First" policy, arms trade, interventionism and Iranian nuclear deal.

This kind of atmosphere has given some foreign journalists covering the event an impression the Xiangshan Forum is an anti-US platform, but representatives from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Chinese organizer of the forum disagree. 

Chinese military attendees and experts said the platform has provided a valuable venue for non-Western countries to express themselves since they don't have many opportunities in the West- or US-led defense forums, and the Xiangshan Forum also welcomed a US delegation and hopefully, the US would listen to the criticism.

Frequent criticism 

Singapore, a close strategic partner for the US in Asia, also voiced its dissatisfaction. Under the "America First" policy,  the US is no longer the prime architect and champion modeler of multilateralism and globalization 1.0, said Ng Eng Hen, Singaporean Minister of Defense, on Tuesday.

Andrés Laureano González Brito, Chief of Cuba's Central Army, criticized the US on Tuesday in his speech at the forum, saying US actions, including selling weapons to countries, non-state entities, or even criminal organizations, worry the world.

Criticism was also heard from Eastern European delegates. Aleksandar Vulin, Serbian Minister of Defense, said what we saw seemed to be major countries [the US and its NATO allies] collaborated to slaughter the Serbian people and brought disaster to their country. They wanted to strangle Serbia, but they instead strangled international law. Serbia survived, but international law did not, he said.

Belarus' Minister of Defense Andrei Ravkov said that the US is deploying its anti-missile systems around the globe, which can be turned into offensive weapons, dragging all countries into arms race.

Not an anti-US forum

Jiang Xinfeng, a research fellow at the PLA Academy of Military Science, told the Global Times that China never planned to turn the forum into an anti-US platform. 

"Many non-Western countries and victims of US hegemony have no chance to express their dissatisfaction at forums in Munich or Shangri-La, which are dominating by the West, and have finally found a fair platform to speak and express themselves," Jiang noted.

Retired lieutenant general Evgeny Buzhinskiy, chairman of the executive board of Moscow-based think tank PIR Center, told the Global Times at the forum that the Trump administration's role in the strategic stability between major countries is, to put it mildly, not constructive. 

The Trump administration is destroying the arms control structure, especially the nuclear arms control structure. The US withdrew from the INF treaty because it claimed Russia was not complying with the treaty. But in fact, it was the US that was not complying with the treaty, said Buzhinskiy.

There are far more medium- and small-sized countries in the world than major countries, and their stance and views are important, Senior Colonel Zhou Bo, director of the Center for Security Cooperation of the Office for International Military Cooperation at China's Ministry of National Defense, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

West-led defense forums didn't give them such chances, but the Xiangshan Forum has provided a platform for them to communicate to the world, Zhou noted.

A chance for US to listen

Senior Colonel Zhao Xiaozhuo, director of the Beijing Xiangshan Forum Secretariat, told the reporters that through the forum, "We have a better understanding of the different stance and views on various issues" of many high ranking figures from different countries.

Jiang stressed that the forum also welcomes the US delegation, which is also a chance for the US to listen to what other countries really think of its policies. US Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for China Chad Sbragia attended the Xiangshan Forum.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng also made similar points on unilateral approach on Tuesday, saying that no country can prosper without working with other nations.  The world wants China and the US to end their trade war, Le said. "That requires openness rather than a 'de-coupling' of countries or a new Cold War," he said.

More senior military officials around the world are attending the forum because of China's increasing influence in international security affairs, Zhou noted.
Newspaper headline: Xiangshan Forum not anti-US


blog comments powered by Disqus