The Munich Security Conference (MSC), known as the Davos of Defense, ended yesterday after three days of discussion on current and prospective security policy challenges.
On a panel themed “America, Europe and the Rise of Asia” on Saturday, US Senator John McCain created a stir by tearing into China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun on a wide range of topics from China’s human rights record and “repression” of the Tibetans to China’s democracy, warning “the Arab Spring is coming to China.” McCain’s remarks obviously strayed away from the subject of the panel.
The MSC witnessed an important moment last year when Russia and the US decided to ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). It marked the most significant disarmament treaty since the end of the Cold War and contributed to global stability.
Wise diplomats should create a favorable atmosphere for countries to reach an understanding on how to deal with security challenges rather than stirring up tensions.
In recent years, China has often seen US politicians taking potshots at it. Under the context of China’s rapid development, US anxiety is rising. In fact, the US also has its own problems concerning human rights and often turns a blind eye to other regimes that abuse human rights. There are Americans expecting the Arab Spring to extend to China, hoping chaos and turbulence could disturb China’s development. The US sees China as a threat, but until now China has never challenged the US’ core interests and has made a commitment to stick to peaceful development.
In shifting its strategic focus, the US is carrying out its Asia “pivot” strategy. China, as the implicit target of the strategy, is responding with reserve. Recently in the Diplomat magazine there were a series of articles discussing “why China isn’t freaking out” when faced with the US “reset” policy. The answer is simple: China understands the danger of confronting the current global order; it should cautiously and rationally deal with various challenges to pave the way for development. Of course, this does not mean China should be submissive when facing provocations and act in accordance with the Western will.
Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun refuted McCain’s attack, saying that a looming Arab Spring is “no more than fantasy” in China. US politicians slamming China only mirrors the country’s anxiety and lack of confidence. However, in a world with dynamic changes, anxiety does not help.
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