China, Russia, Iran to sort out security in Asia

China, Russia, Iran to sort out security in Asia
Tue May 20, 2014 09:09:49

Russian President Vladimir Putin spent most of a recent interview with Chinese state media praising the ‘exemplary collaboration’ between Russia and China in recent years.

He listed a wide range of areas, from financial services to the aircraft industry, where his country wants to partner with its ‘trusted friend’.

But Putin’s interview also highlighted a polarizing meeting that takes place in Shanghai this week. Putin promises that the talks will lead to “a new security and sustainable development architecture in Asia-Pacific”—a task that has become increasingly important as China moves into the South China Sea.

Known as the “Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia”, or CICA, the meeting is a once-every-four years gathering of Asian nations. Started by Kazakhstan President-for-life Nursultan Nazarbayev, the group’s members include some of the world’s most powerful non-Western countries.

This month’s meeting, on May 20-21, will include Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon.

“Iran’s participation in the summit will show the world that the Islamic Republic is not isolated,” one academic told Chinese state media. The non-Western world “is not the periphery, it is in fact the center,” he said. Putin’s push for deeper relations with Asia supports this notion.

Conspicuously missing from this group dedicated to the future of Asia is Japan, Asia’s second-largest economy and a necessary participant in any credible security architecture in the region, the Philippines, which is a US ally, and Indonesia, another country locked in a territorial dispute with China.

Founded in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 1999, the CICA pledges to create an ‘an environment of confidence’ among its members states, which is merely, as its own mandate explains, a ‘stepping stone’ for the ultimate goal, military alignment.