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Assessment of China’s neighboring security environment in the next decade

CIIS Time: Jun 21, 2011 Writer: 董哲 Editor: 董哲

Assessment of China’s neighboring security environment in the next decade

Chair: Dong Manyuan, Vice President of CIIS

Duration: 2011-2014


The next decade is the critical period for the implementation of the “Twelfth Five- Year Plan” and “Thirteenth Five-Year Plan”;it is also the crucial phase for accomplishing the medium- and long-term plan for economic and social development by 2020 . In line with a set of policies formulated by the Central Committee of the CPC since the 17th Party Congress, it is imperative for Chinese diplomacy to grip the strategic opportunity period, to shape favorable neighboring environment for the overall goal of building a moderately prosperous society. The neighboring environment comprises neighboring security environment, neighboring cooperation environment, neighboring geopolitical environment, neighboring cultural exchanges environment and neighboring public opinion environment. Among them, the neighboring environment exerts direct influence over the neighboring cooperation environment, and will have indirect influence over other kinds of environments.

In the last five years (the "Eleventh Five-Year Plan" period), China has made unremitting efforts to actively explore and shape its neighborhood. It persists in building a good-neighborly relationship and partnership with the neighbors. With the important regional and inter-regional and sub-regional cooperation agendas as the platforms, China, according to the principles of balance and mutual benefit and win-win result, deals effectively with the surrounding power relations, and by unifying and winning the support of the surrounding developing countries, China has established a framework for peaceful and stable interests interdependence relationships in both strategic directions and surrounding areas, yielding a periodical result for great-leap-forward progress of China’s comprehensive national strength and sustainable development.

Nevertheless, since the year 2010, the pressures on China from its neighborhood are increasing significantly. Some inherent contradictions have broken out simultaneously, the hot-spots have remained heating up, and local unrest has worsened, which have been demonstrated in both traditional and non-traditional areas. Of all the neighboring security challenges facing China, “American factor” is the most substantial factor that will affect the situation as a whole. America feels anxiety for China’s rapid development and the expansion of its influence over the neighboring countries and regions, and is sparing no efforts to retard China’s strives for being prosperous and strong. It is the main impetus for America to increase its input in the Asia Pacific region.

In the next decade, the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and China’s neighboring areas remains instable and uncertain. Therefore, when examining the “American factor”, the research team will take a full consideration into the neighboring situation. Given that the new changes in the security environment around China have a growing influence on China’s development goals, the team plans to make an in-depth research on this field. The research project, which focuses on the two aspects — "understanding the situation and problems" and "formulating foreign policies", will include the following aspects: striving to explain clearly and accurately the relationship between building a harmonious neighborhood and China’ all-round diplomatic layout, the substances and main objectives of the Grand Neighboring Diplomacy and the means to achieve the goals, putting forward new conceptions for handling the "America factor" and the neighboring power relations, and finally forming the policy recommendations for consolidating the neighborhood, advancing the interconnectivity between China and its neighboring countries, correctly guiding the process of regional cooperation, with a view to expanding China’s influence over the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. Also, China’s neighboring diplomacy theory will be explored in the monologue of this project.