Creating Strategic Opportunities: The Concept and Practice of China-ASEAN Security Cooperation

Social Sciences in China, 2021

Vol. 42, No. 3, 2021


Creating Strategic Opportunities: The Concept and Practice of China- ASEAN Security Cooperation



Wei Ling


The cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) began with the establishment of dialogue relations between the two sides after the ending of the Cold War. In 1994, when the ASEAN Regional Forum was established, China was one of the founding members, marking the beginning of formal security cooperation between China and ASEAN. The decision to shift to cooperation/ enhance willingness to cooperate was made by the two parties after taking stock of the international and regional situation and their respective interests in the wake of the collapse of the bipolar system. Security cooperation was driven by a consensus on seizing, creating and maintaining strategic opportunities; or more specifically, by taking advantage of development opportunities and striving to maintain regional stability in difficult situations, thus creating a peaceful and amicable strategic regional context for sustainable development. The core concept of China-ASEAN security cooperation is developmental peace, with the norms of cooperation being the ASEAN way, cooperative security, the new security concept and the Asian security concept. In practice, China-ASEAN security cooperation covers three dimensionsstrategic stability, management and control of high tension issues, and practical cooperation. New opportunities and challenges are emerging in the new era for China-ASEAN security cooperation. Fundamentally speaking, the two sides need to strive for the goal of building an ASEAN community and a China-ASEAN community with a shared future and to properly coordinate the strategic positioning of the long-term core interests of both parties.


Keywords: China-ASEAN relations, strategic opportunities, developmental peace, security cooperation, ASEAN community, China-ASEAN community with a shared future