An upcoming Asian security summit will strengthen dialogue, build mutual trust and broaden cooperation among Asian countries and help the region address some hotspot issues, foreign leaders and experts said.
The fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in the eastern Chinese metropolis of Shanghai, will draw delegations from nearly 40 countries and international organizations.
Foreign leaders and experts also said China, which is going to take over the CICA presidency from 2014 to 2016, will play a more important role in leading the regional body in its efforts to promote peace and development in Asia.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will attend the summit, said during an interview with reporters ahead of his China trip that the CICA provides a platform where regional leaders could build mutual trust and demonstrate their commitments to cooperation.
"I have great expectation in China's leadership and vision in leading this CICA process," Ban said.
Asia, particularly Northeast Asia, is the source of growth and innovation, and there is a huge, great expectation from the international community that this is an Asian Era, he added.
"To make it possible, Asian nations should be more united, provided their potential to further their future oriented way," he said.
Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain also said his country attaches great importance to the upcoming CICA summit in Shanghai.
"The CICA is a very important regional forum that can promote regional peace, security and stability among the member countries," Hussain told Chinese media before leaving for China to attend the summit.
He said Pakistan expects that CICA member countries would further strengthen this forum and find ways to implement its ideals and guiding principles into political and economic realities for the benefit of the entire region.
The Pakistani president voiced his hope that regional stability and cooperation would be significantly improved with China taking the chair of the CICA.
Against the backdrop of the complicated, volatile security situation in the region, Asian countries are also trying to think out a way to cope with challenges and threats in the traditional and non-traditional security fields.
Observers said that China, after taking over the CICA presidency, will inject fresh vitality into the regional mechanism and help Asian countries solve some long-standing issues, including Afghanistan's stability and the Iranian nuclear program.
During an interview with Xinhua, Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed his ardent expectations for the CICA and the upcoming summit.
"The title of the conference shows that we, in this part of the world, in particular, need a lot more interactions and coordination of policies and approaches to the common interest of this region," Karzai said.
"Therefore, to get together, of this nature and in a country as important as China for the world and for this region, is significant and of value," he added.
Analysts said the CICA mechanism has provided a platform for multilateral exchanges and communication, which is conducive to coordination and cooperation among various parties and will ensure Afghanistan's smooth transition.
China is a peace-loving, responsible power that has played a positive role in regional stability, said Hamidullah Farooqi, a professor at Kabul University.
"Afghanistan hopes China will boost exchanges and communication among Asian countries and let our neighbors hear the Afghan government and people's aspiration for peace and stability," Farooqi said.
As for Iran's nuclear program, Japanese news portal The Diplomat said that due to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's scheduled attendance, the Shanghai summit would provide an opportunity for parties concerned to discuss the issue.
As the only two Asian nations in the Iranian nuclear talks, communication between China and Iran will play a special role in seeking a final, comprehensive solution to the issue, the analysts said.
Seyed Mohammad Marandi, dean of the World Studies Faculty of Tehran University, said the upcoming CICA summit will build confidence on Iran's nuclear program among Asian countries and bring more hope in breaking the nuclear standoff.
"Iran's participation in the summit will show the world that the Islamic Republic is not isolated," Marandi said.
As a non-western platform, the CICA is a harbinger of the shift from a world order dominated by the West to a multipolar and more just one, he said.
"Non-western world is not the periphery; it is in fact the center, just as important as the western world if not more important because of its much larger population," he added.(Xinhua News Agency May 19, 2014)