As China reiterated its security concepts and initiatives at the 20th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore about "unprecedented" security challenges facing the Asia-Pacific, Chinese experts on international relations and national security said on Sunday that China's national security is now facing more comprehensive and complex threats not only in traditional fields such as geopolitics, but also in those such as finance and high-tech sectors, so the country needs to form modernized thinking and countermeasures to deal with the new situation. The main threat at the moment has been caused by the US-launched new cold war against China despite Washington refusing to admit it, analysts noted.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, at the first meeting of the National Security Commission under the 20th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) last week, called for accelerated efforts to modernize the country's national security system and capacity.
The national security issues China faces today are "considerably more complex and much more difficult to be resolved," the meeting said. It stressed the necessity of being prepared to deal with worst-case and extreme-case scenarios and being ready to withstand "high winds, choppy waters, and even dangerous storms."
On Sunday, Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Li Shangfu delivered a highly anticipated speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. "People cannot but ask these questions: Who is disrupting peace in the region? What are the root causes of the chaos and instability? And what should we stay vigilant about and guard against?" said Li.
These questions must be answered in the interests of the security, stability and future of the Asia-Pacific, Li underscored. Noting that "a certain country" has incited "color revolutions" and proxy wars in different regions, created chaos and turbulence and just walked away leaving a mess behind, Li added that such things should never be allowed to happen in the Asia-Pacific region.
Experts said China's national security concerns are in line with the shared concerns of the ASEAN and other regional countries hoping for peace and stability.
Jin Canrong, associate dean of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday that "the worst-case scenarios" mentioned in the National Security Commission meeting refers to "challenges such as a massive geopolitical crisis or another global financial crisis," but "the extreme-case scenarios," to be clear, "means the danger of war."
China always maintains high alert over threats to its national security, but if there is anything that can bring "dangerous storms" or the danger of war, that would definitely be the Taiwan question, Jin said. "The US' increasing provocations and the risky acts of Taiwan secessionists could bring an imminent threat that may cause a war in the region," Jin noted.
Li Wei, an expert on national security at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, echoed that view, saying that there are challenges stemming from both international and regional issues, terrorism and those brought by unilateralism and trade protectionism. "A mindset of dealing with worst-case and extreme-case scenarios should be applied in addressing affairs related to the South China Sea and the Taiwan question," the expert said.
In 2024, the US will hold its presidential elections, and the island of Taiwan will also hold a regional election, and one possibility for an "extreme-case scenario" is Donald Trump, if reelected as president withdrawing US resources from the Russia-Ukraine conflict and maximizing the manipulation of the Taiwan question to provoke and contain China, and Lai Ching-te, a radical secessionist politician on the island, winning the elections, as these radical and unpredictable forces could recklessly cross the bottom-line and force China to solve the Taiwan question once and for all, said Jin.
China has exercised restraints in responding to the US-launched new cold war, and Washington is the side that is provoking uncertainties and major impacts, so even though China is making full preparations and trying its best to deter and prevent "the worst or extreme-case scenarios," the extent of the danger of a war breaking out in the region in the near future is still unclear, analysts said.
The first meeting of the National Security Commission under the 20th CPC Central Committee last week called for initiative to be taken to "shape a favorable external security environment for China to better safeguard its opening up and push for a deep integration of development and security."
"Believe it or not, after the Biden administration issued its latest National Security Strategy in October 2022, a new cold war against China was launched," Jin said.The US has clearly identified China as its "only competitor," and Washington is mobilizing different political forces and business groups within the country as well as its allies around the globe to join this new cold war, but the mobilization has not been very successful. More importantly, the US also wants to avoid a hot direct war when launching its comprehensive containment against China, and this is why its senior officials are desperately seeking communication with China but with no sincerity in reducing its hostilities, Jin noted. "All this proves that a new cold war has already been launched by the US."
So the key to avoid worst-case and extreme-case scenarios is to work together with all peace-loving parties, including US business elites and Western countries, to shape a favorable environment that not only benefits China, but also provides certainty and stability for everyone who hungers for peace, development and recovery, experts said.
Recent high-profile China trips made and to be made by executives of top American companies such as Elon Musk of Tesla, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan, and Jensen Huang of Nvidia have made headlines around the world, as they are seeking to expand their business in the world's biggest and most vibrant market due to its high certainty and stability. Executives from a couple of top UK companies, including the executive chairman of Jardine Matheson Holdings Ben Keswick, also met with senior Chinese officials recently, even as some Western officials, including those in the US and some of its allies, are calling for "decoupling" or "de-risking" in their trade ties with China.Jin said forming friendly ties and mutual trust, providing opportunities and benefits, and building a community with shared future with others are some of the most effective measures being taken to prevent the "the worst-case and extreme-case scenarios."
After unilaterally launching a new cold war against China, the US has failed to mobilize its own big companies and business elites in different industries, and has also failed to mobilize its key allies such as major EU members including France and Germany. This means the new cold war is exerting limited harm to the world economy, and also makes the damage caused by US hegemony and unilateralism more manageable in terms of finance, economy, as well as supply and industrial chains, experts noted.
The National Security Commission meeting also called for dedicated efforts to safeguard political security and improve the security governance of "internet data and artificial intelligence (AI)." It also called for expedited endeavors to establish a risk monitoring and early warning system.
Shen Yi, a professor on cybersecurity and international relations at Fudan University, told the Global Times that China will embrace and make the best use of these cutting-edge technologies, to better unleash productive forces and better serve its governance and national security.