27 October 2018
An annual conference that Beijing hopes will become Asia’s leading forum for discussing security issues had its largest-ever attendance this year – but organisers’ reluctance to let delegates discuss some of the key issues affecting the region highlighted the distance it needs to travel to surpass a similar gathering in Singapore.
Key issues such as the growing Sino-US rivalry were scarcely touched on at the main sessions of the two-day Xiangshan Forum, which ended on Friday.
Meanwhile discussion of the long-running territorial dispute in the South China Sea was confined to a plenary session that covered the broader topic of maritime security cooperation.
By contrast both issues are regularly discussed at the IISS Asia Security Summit in Singapore, known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, which Beijing hopes Xiangshan will supplant.
Only one of the military delegates invited to speak at the Xiangshan event – a representative from the Philippines – came from a country embroiled in the South China Sea disputes.
… Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy, a visiting fellow at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said it had been possible to discuss US-China relations on the sidelines of the conference, adding he had been impressed by one seminar on the topic which had been attended by young Chinese military officers and academics.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 29/10/2018