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China has been playing an important role in maintaining global and regional peace, security, stability and development, Cambodian academics have said.

Their comments were made on Friday as the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue, a premier defense and security summit in the Asia-Pacific region, is being held in Singapore after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said China always upholds a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.

He said China urges the world to discard Cold War and zero-sum mentalities, rejects the law of the jungle, and encourages the settlement of conflicts through peaceful ways.

"China has been playing a more important role in safeguarding global and regional peace and stability," he told Xinhua.

Phea said that in his observation, China has never invaded other countries or engaged in proxy wars, nor has it ever sought spheres of influence or participated in military bloc confrontations.

The academic said China always stays committed to the path of peaceful development and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

"I notice that China firmly opposes all hegemonies and power politics and resolutely upholds the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, especially small and medium-sized countries," he said.

Seun Sam, a policy analyst at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that China believes in peaceful development and win-win cooperation, and praised China's concept of global, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.

"China does not only want to grow alone but also wants other countries to grow with it," Sam said. "We can say that China wants to grow with other countries."

Unlike the United States, China's vision is to transform the region into a hub of peace, stability and development through digital connectivity and infrastructure development, said Joseph Matthews, senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh.

He said China's vision of global development through the Belt and Road Initiative, "green Silk Road," and "digital Silk Road" strategies has helped the region attract investors from all over the world.

"In contrast to China's vision, the USA and its allies in the region are trying to trigger a conventional and non-conventional arms race after having created the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue among the U.S., Japan, Australia and India (QUAD) and the military pact among the U.S., Britain and Australia (AUKUS), which are true replicas of NATO in Asia and the Asia-Pacific region," Matthews said.

"The USA strategy in the region has directly threatened the centrality of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), which is the soul and spirit of the bloc," he added.

Apart from these NATO-like security alliances, last month during the QUAD summit conference in Tokyo, U.S. President Joe Biden announced the creation of the so-called Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), which is neither a free trade agreement nor even a trade agreement.

Calling the IPEF "a symbolic agreement that will not affect regional economic and social development at all," he said "the USA has created this group to counter China's influence in the region and the ulterior motive for the creation of IPEF is to divide the ASEAN." 

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