While the back and forth between the Chinese and U.S. and Japanese speakers at the Shangri-La Dialogue has gained considerable attention, less scrutiny has been paid to the comments by General Wang Guanzhong advocating a “new Asian security concept.” Wang was echoing Chinese President Xi Jinping, who similarlyoutlined a vision of an Asian security order managed by Asian countries at the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures (CICA) summit, on May 20-21 in Shanghai, China (Xinhua, May 21, 2014).
In many ways, advocacy of a revised security order to better accord with Chinese preferences is not new. PRC officials first introduced the principles of the new security concept in 1997. Around 2005, Chinese leaders unveiled a series of major concepts, including the Harmonious World, and its derivative, the Harmonious Asia, to provide a clearer vision of how China hoped to shape the global and regional order to accommodate the country’s rise. The new Asian security concept raised by Xi at the CICA summit, like the ideas promoted by preceding leaders, proposes the development of political and security relationships, institutions, and structures to complement the region’s deep integration with China’s economy. Details remain vague, however.