Two presidents must work towards concept of Pacific community

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2015, 4:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2015, 4:00pm

I write as a former legislator. China's war anniversary parade on September 3, commemorating the country's victory after 14 years of Japanese military aggression, was impressive.

President Xi Jinping said in his speech China would reduce its armed forces by 300,000 from the current size of 2.3 million.

This is no doubt part of the modernisation drive that included an ongoing anti-corruption campaign and revitalising the People's Liberation Army to put it on a par with the advanced nations of the West. The massive parade was an affirmation of loyalty to the Communist Party and Xi's authority, as chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Present at the ceremony were presidents and prime ministers from 30 countries, representatives of 19 others and the heads of 10 international organisations, including Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary general.

According to media reports, senior Japanese officials had urged Ban to stay "neutral" and not to visit China at that time since it would be looking to the past rather than the future.

Ban said the UN was an impartial organisation "so learning from the past and also looking for a better future - that is the main purpose of my visit to China this time". The ceremony commemorated the millions of Chinese soldiers, Kuomintang and Communist, who struggled against great odds when fighting the Japanese armies in China.

The pinning down of one million battle-hardened Japanese soldiers on Chinese soil inflicted great hardship on millions of Chinese families.

The resistance movement was China's contribution to the West's historic struggle against the forces of fascism during the second world war.

This month, Xi will meet his counterpart, President Barack Obama in the US. Major issues will be discussed, including the Bilateral Investment Treaty, strengthening military cooperation and seeking more progress in fields such as energy and infrastructure.

The two countries should aim to submit together to the UN their credible plans to cut carbon emissions ahead of talks in Paris in December to seek a new global deal on curbing greenhouse gases, which is potentially one of the greatest threats to humanity.

It would be timely for both leaders, coming from the two sides of the Pacific, to envision the concept of a Pacific community and create a strategic plan to engage countries on both sides of the Pacific to build on common interests for a better life and future for their nations and peoples respectively.

Hilton Cheong-Leen, To Kwa Wan