China to train 5,000 security personnel from developing countries over next 5 years



China plans to train 5,000 security personnel from developing countries over the next five years in a move that is expected to boost Beijing’s global security influence.

The announcement, which appeared in a paper on Beijing’s Global Security Initiative (GSI) published on Tuesday, comes as China’s overseas security footprint has worried its rivals.

The initiative, seen as an alternative to the Western-led security order, was first proposed by President Xi Jinping during the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference last April.

According to the GSI paper, Beijing plans to create more international platforms for exchange and cooperation to address security challenges in areas such as counterterrorism, cybersecurity, biosecurity and emerging technologies, with a view to improving governance capacity in non-traditional security.

China would also encourage more exchanges and cooperation among university-level military and police academies, the paper said.

It also said China was willing to provide 5,000 training opportunities for professionals from other developing countries over the next five years to help them address global security issues.

Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), said the plan for training and exchanges in non-traditional security fields, especially anti-terrorism, showed Beijing felt a responsibility to address global security challenges.

“[China] used to train anti-terrorism police officers and officials in countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, and now it will expand the scope of this cooperation. The training and exchanges aim to strengthen efficiency in bilateral and multilateral cooperation, such as in the anti-terrorism field,” Li said.

China’s efforts to boost multilateral and bilateral security training programmes have expanded in recent years, spreading to countries in the Middle East, the Pacific Islands and Central Asia.

Last September, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China would train 2,000 law enforcement personnel from Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member countries over the next five years and set up a training base focused on anti-terrorism. Xi made the comments at a summit of the security grouping led by China and Russia.

In December, China offered to train 1,500 police and cybersecurity officials from Arab states.

Since January 2022, Beijing has helped train police in the Solomon Islands to improve their “anti-riot capabilities”. The Solomon Islands’ police force also sent 32 officers to China for a month-long training course in October.

Western countries have been closely watching these moves, which have sparked concerns about Chinese police practices and are seen as an attempt by Beijing to gain overreaching influence in these regions.

Li, the anti-terrorism expert, argued that the training activities were “normal” and intended to counter common threats facing multiple countries that could not be solved by one country alone.

“As a member of the international community, we have the responsibility to work with other countries for anti-terrorism and other security cooperation,” he said, adding that the issue should not be viewed from an ideological perspective

Wang Hongwei, a public policy professor at Renmin University in Beijing, said talent was a key resource for implementing security policy, and the initiative was helpful for boosting ties.

“The focus of the 5,000 training opportunities would be in the field of non-traditional security, including anti-terrorism, cybersecurity … and climate change, which would improve developing countries’ ability to counter those threats,” he said.

“Of course, it could help to promote close relationships between China and developing countries.”

(South China Morning Post)


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