Languages of Security in the Asia-Pacific

College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University

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Chinese – Jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī

May 27th, 2011 · No Comments · Chinese, Confidence

建立信任措施 (建立信任措施)

Jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī

Relates to confidence-building measures

The phrase is composed of three terms of six characters in total:

建 – jiàn – to establish, to build up, to bring up[1]

立 – – to establish, to set up[2]

建立 – jiànlì – to establish, to set up, to found[3]

信 – xìn – trust, honest, confidence, to trust, to believe[4]

任 – rèn – to appoint, to allow, to let be[5]

信任 – xìnrèn – someone who can be trusted or who is confidential and therefore can be given tasks or can be appointed, to trust in, to believe in, to confide in[6]

措 – cuò – to arrange, to make plans, to manage[7]

施  – shī – to carry out, to implement[8]

措施 – cuòshī – measures to resolve issues or to handle problems[9]

 

Jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī (建立信任措施) means confidence-building measures (CBMs), a concept originating from Europe and enthusiastically discussed in the 1970s. The broad concept of CBMs implies that countries implement measures to promote understanding, trust, and confidence regarding each other’s military affairs, therefore reducing suspicions, tensions and/or the likelihood of conflict. The mechanism of CBMs includes various types of dealings, such as the exchange of information, establishing a system of cooperation and negotiation, mutual visits, dialogue, and self-regulation in military affairs. The implementation of CBMs has not only been limited in military issues during the development in the past decades but has also been expanded to the political, economic, trade, and cultural arenas. There is also realisation that CBMs can be achieved among countries bilaterally or multilaterally, regionally or globally.

China appreciates the Western concept of jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī , and indeed claims that the ‘Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence’ that it initiated in 1953-1954 during the dealings with India and Burma are some of China’s earliest manifestation of jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī with other countries. The ‘Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence’ include mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.[10] China claims that, if the ‘Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence’ can be followed by countries and adopted in the international community, the principles can ‘form a solid foundation of peace and security. Fear and suspicion which exist currently can be replaced by confidence’.[11] The Five Principles, which were established more than half a century ago, continue to guide contemporary China’s handling of foreign affairs. Any measures that the Chinese government takes in order to build confidence with other nation-states must be based on these principles, which are so sacred that they cannot be compromised.

Beginning in 1995, building confidence and improving trust between China and other countries has become one of the government’s major tasks that is clearly and continuously stated in its Defence White Papers as well as the White Papers on Efforts of Arms Control, Disarmament and Arms’ Non-Proliferation. The White Papers explain how China jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī with other countries through real and practical measures when it tries to prevent conflicts, and pursue peace and stability in the region. It is said that, ‘in order to improve understanding and confidence, [China] facilitates various types of bilateral or multilateral dialogues and negotiations’.[12] Examples of bilateral measures which China refers to in the official documents as the implementation of jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī include signing an agreement with the former Soviet Union on disarmament and strengthening confidence in military affairs; the joint release of a statement with the Russian President on the no-first use of nuclear weapons or no targeting others with the nuclear weapons; and signing an agreement with India to ensure the peace and security of the border regions.[13] Multilateral measures of jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī are demonstrated in China’s vows to fulfil obligations stipulated in conventions in arms control and disarmament. For example, regarding the Biological Weapons Convention, China pledges to actively participate in meetings as well as discussions and the submission of declarations concerning confidence-building measures to the Implementation Support Unit of the Convention in a timely fashion.[14] In the region, China ‘highly values the influence of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and supports it to establish confidence measures (jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī). China takes the initiative to submit ‘the annual security outlook report’ every year’.[15] Participating in second-track dialogue, that is non-governmental channels, is one of China’s methods to establish confidence with regional and neighbouring countries. China claims that participating in the multilateral security dialogues, such as CSCAP, has ‘increased mutual understanding and confidence among countries and facilitate peace and stability in the region’.[16] China sees jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī in a positive light and takes constructive approaches to realise the concept.

This is not to say that Beijing’s engagement with confidence building measures has always been comprehensive or successful. As David Griffiths acknowledges, the signing of the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) between the PRC and the US in 1998 did not prevent the EP-3 Incident from occurring, and the consequent spiralling of bilateral tensions.[17] However, the flaws with the approach emanated, not from differences of interpretation over how to respond to such crises, but rather an absence of tactical and operational safeguards and lines of communication necessary to de-escalate and avoid such incidents – the very essence of confidence building measures.

China upholds the principle that jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī must be applied between states, and CBMs in political issues should be dealt with prior to others, such as military, economic, and cultural issues. As a result, the regular CBMs conduct that China follows with other countries does not fully apply when it comes to the case of Taiwan, as China regards it as “a renegade province.”

On 17 May 2004, before pro-Taiwan independence Chen Shui-bian assumed his second term of presidency in Taiwan on 20 May 2004, China announced a statement, hoping to ‘end the hostility formally; establish confidence-building measures in military affairs and jointly construct a framework for peaceful and stable development of cross-Strait relations’.[18] On 31 December 2008, the eve of the thirtieth anniversary of China’s release of ‘the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan’, Chinese President Hu Jintao said in his six-point of statement that both sides of the Taiwan Strait ‘strictly abide by ‘one China’ and improve confidence politically. … In order to stabilise the situation across the Taiwan Strait, and reduce military and security concerns, both sides of the Taiwan Strait could have contacts and exchanges concerning military issues and discussing issues regarding the mechanism of confidence-building measures (jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī) in military affairs.”[19] China has constantly urged Taiwan to begin talks on confidence building measures on many occasions.

Taiwan and China resumed systematic dialogues in 2008 after almost nine years’ hiatus.[20] The issues discussed in the resumed cross-Strait dialogues focused mainly on issues other than political and military ones due to the mutual agreement that both Taiwan and China would resume cross-Strait negotiations based on the principles of ‘easy first, difficult later; economic issues first, political issues later’.[21] However, China still propagandises at Taiwan to begin confidence-building measures’ talks on military affairs and sign a peace agreement, despite Taiwan’s lack of interest.[22] Taiwan wishes to jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī in military affairs with China as well, but its primary goal is to ensure the security of Taiwan and reduce the likelihood of conflict across the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan holds Beijing accountable for no progress in jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī in military affairs across the Taiwan Strait, because of Beijing’s military build-up directed towards Taiwan.[23] Taiwan clearly understands Beijing’s urge to Taipei to jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī in military affairs is undoubtedly based on the two political prerequisites which guide China’s Taiwan policy but are not well-received in Taiwan: the principle of ‘one China’ and the peaceful unification of China and Taiwan. Taipei also refuses to set a timetable regarding cross-Strait negotiations on political and military issues. However, retired military and diplomatic officials as well as scholars from both Taiwan and China met in November 2009 in a conference in Taipei to discuss issues including politics, economy, culture, diplomacy and military. This meeting was regarded as the formal launching of the second-track dialogue across the Taiwan Strait on diplomatic and military subjects and to pave the way for any possible formal cross-Strait CBMs in the future.[24]

 

 

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[1] Xiandai Hanyu Cidian (Modern Chinese Dictionary, the 5th Edition), Beijing: Commercial Press, 2006, p. 671. Hanyu Da Cidian (Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Words), Shanghai: Hanyu Da Cidian Press, 1995, Vol 2, p. 905

[2] Xiandai Hanyu Cidian (Modern Chinese Dictionary, the 5th Edition), Beijing: Commercial Press, 2006, p. 838. Hanyu Da Cidian (Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Words), Shanghai: Hanyu Da Cidian Press, 1991, Vol 8, p. 371

[3] Xiandai Hanyu Cidian (Modern Chinese Dictionary, the 5th Edition), Beijing: Commercial Press, 2006, p. 671. Hanyu Da Cidian (Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Words), Shanghai: Hanyu Da Cidian Press, 1995, Vol 2, p. 906

[4] Xiandai Hanyu Cidian (Modern Chinese Dictionary, the 5th Edition), Beijing: Commercial Press, 2006, p. 1518. Hanyu Da Cidian (Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Words), Shanghai: Hanyu Da Cidian Press, 1994, Vol 1, p. 1414

[5] Xiandai Hanyu Cidian (Modern Chinese Dictionary, the 5th Edition), Beijing: Commercial Press, 2006, p. 1150. Hanyu Da Cidian (Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Words), Shanghai: Hanyu Da Cidian Press, 1994, Vol 1, p. 1196

[6] Xiandai Hanyu Cidian (Modern Chinese Dictionary, the 5th Edition), Beijing: Commercial Press, 2006, p. 1519. Hanyu Da Cidian (Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Words), Shanghai: Hanyu Da Cidian Press, 1994, Vol 1, p. 1417

[7] Xiandai Hanyu Cidian (Modern Chinese Dictionary, the 5th Edition), Beijing: Commercial Press, 2006, p. 238. Hanyu Da Cidian (Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Words), Shanghai: Hanyu Da Cidian Press, 1996, Vol 6, p. 638

[8] Xiandai Hanyu Cidian (Modern Chinese Dictionary, the 5th Edition), Beijing: Commercial Press, 2006, p. 1230. Hanyu Da Cidian (Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Words), Shanghai: Hanyu Da Cidian Press, 1996, Vol 6, p. 1576

[9] Xiandai Hanyu Cidian (Modern Chinese Dictionary, the 5th Edition), Beijing: Commercial Press, 2006, p. 238. Hanyu Da Cidian (Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Words), Shanghai: Hanyu Da Cidian Press, 1996, Vol 6, p. 639

[10] “The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence,” www.Xinhuanet.com, http://big5.xinhuanet.com/gate/big5/news.xinhuanet.com/ziliao/2004-06/09/content_1515866.htm

[11] “The Birth of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence,” the website of the PRC Embassy in India, http://in.chineseembassy.org/chn/ssygd/jnhpgcwxyz/t195684.htm [accessed March 16, 2010]

[12] The 1995 Chinese Defence White Paper (The White Paper on China’s Arms Control and Disarmanent), http://sy.mca.gov.cn/article/gfjy/gfbps/200707/20070700001064.shtml

[13] Ibid

[15] The White Paper on China’s Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, September 2005, http://news.xinhuanet.com/mil/2005-09/01/content_3429460.htm

[16] China’s National Defense in 2000, http://mil.news.sina.com.cn/2000-10-16/6463.html

 

[17] David Griffiths, U.S.-China Maritime Confidence Building: Paradigms, Precedents, and Prospects (Newport, RI: U.S. Naval War College, July 2010), p.2.

[18] “The May 17 Statement,” the Chinese Communist Party’s Taiwan Affairs Office and the PRC’s Taiwan Affairs Office, May 17, 2004, http://www.fmcoprc.gov.mo/chn/gsxwfb/t108481.htm

[19] “Hu Jintao’s Speech to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan,” December 31, 2008, http://www.chinanews.com.cn/tw/kong/news/2008/12-31/1510309.shtml

[20] “The Establishment and the Development of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF),” the website of the SEF, http://www.sef.org.tw/ct.asp?xItem=1548&CtNode=3798&mp=19

[21] “Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Chairman Chao Chien-min: The Time Is Not Ripe Yet to Conduct Cross-Strait Political Negotiations,” the website of the Mainland Affairs Council of Taiwan, December 30. 2009, http://www.mac.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=72707&ctNode=6409&mp=1

[22] “Ma Ying-jeou: The Conditions Are Not Ripe Yet for Both Sides of the Taiwan Strait to Sign a Peace Agreement,” the Central News Agency cited by the Taiwan News, December 31, 2009, http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/etn/news_content.php?id=1144927&lang=tc_news&cate_img=257.jpg&cate_rss=news_PD

[23] “The National Defense Report of the Republic of China in 2009,” Chapter Eight, http://163.29.3.66/index_01.html

[24] “Chinese Heavyweight Scholars Arrive in Taiwan; Both Sides of the Taiwan Strait Have Second-Track Dialogue,” www.ChinaReviewNews.com, November 13, 2009, http://www.chinareviewnews.com/doc/1011/3/4/2/101134202.html?coluid=7&kindid=0&docid=101134202

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