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International Conference on
International Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Cooperation
November 14 - 16, 2002
Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS)
Shanghai International Culture Association (SICA)
Shanghai Municipal Center for International Studies (SMCIS)
Planning Group: Pan Guang, Ding Honggen, Li Yihai
Main Staff: James P. Muldoon, Jr, Yang Jian, Le Jilin
Special thanks were given to Dr. Zhang Zhongli for his hearty and consistent support.
The International Conference on International Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Cooperation (ITCTC) was the culminating event in a multi-year research project on anti-terrorism that was conducted under the auspices of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS) with funding from the Ford Foundation. The conference brought together scholars from the United States, Austria, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia, and China for two days of intense and wide-ranging discussions on three themes -- the root causes, new characteristics and developmental trends of international terrorism; the impact of international terrorism and counter-terrorism upon international relations and the world economy; and, the prospect of cooperation for international anti-terrorism and China’s role and policy. It was conducted at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, November 14-16, 2002, and co-sponsored by the Shanghai International Culture Association (SICA) and the Shanghai Municipal Center for International Studies.
The ITCTC was the first international meeting of scholars on the problem of international terrorism convened in China. It provided a unique opportunity for scholars from around the world to share their views and ideas about the problem of terrorism, the impact of the September 11 terrorist attacks against the United States on international relations, and the challenges posed by the threat of terrorism to international peace and security. Furthermore, the ITCTC highlighted the important role of China in the international anti-terrorism struggle. Nearly 40 presentations were made during the six sessions of the conference covering a wide range of issues related to international terrorism and different aspects of anti- and counter-terrorism cooperation. It was a remarkable event in both the scope and breadth of content and views that the conference covered.
This report summarizes in brief the different ideas and outlooks on international terrorism discussed during the conference. From the outset, it was quite clear that the participants’ views on this difficult and sensitive subject were both candid and sincere. While some differences in points of view did arise during the discussions, the collegiality that characterized the proceedings was never lost and there were more views in common than not. On the whole, the conference generated a better understanding of the issues and range of concerns that international terrorism has created. Finally, it was evident that the conference was only the beginning of an extremely important long-term enterprise to study the multifaceted and complex characteristics of international terrorism and that much more research and analysis on the problem will be needed.
II. Executive Summary
The International Conference on International Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Cooperation (ITCTC) brought together over 60 scholars from Austria, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States for two days of intense discussion and exchange of views on the threat of international terrorism to the world and international peace and security. At the opening ceremony of the conference the remarks of Mr. Liu Zhenyuan, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Shanghai International Culture Association, and Dr. Zhang Zhongli, Vice Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Center for International Studies, made plain the significance of this event. They noted that the international community faces an immense challenge in its efforts to confront and combat the scourge of international terrorism at this point in world history, and must strengthen its commitment to cooperate in overcoming this pernicious and insidious threat to international peace and security.
During the six sessions of the conference, the participants shared their thoughts and views on the complex nature of international terrorism today, the impact of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States on international relations and on the relationships between China and other major powers, and the role that China could play in the future in strengthening anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism cooperation. Below are the main points that came out of the discussion:
III. Summary of Conference Discussion
Defining International Terrorism since September 11
Terrorism has become the main security issue on the international agenda since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. It is both a national and international priority and continues to pose the greatest threat to international peace and security today. Although there was general recognition among the participants that terrorism is not a new phenomenon, the form, scope, and methods are quite distinct from historical patterns and earlier practices. Several participants commented on the changing characteristics of terrorism. Professor Zhou Hongjun of East China College of Law and Politics argued that both the motivation and form of terrorism has clearly changed from earlier periods. He also pointed out that terrorism has become transnationalized in that terrorists are now capable of striking anywhere and anytime in the world. Professor Chen Qimao of the Shanghai Municipal Center for International Studies commented that terrorism is on the move, spreading to different parts of the world like Southeast Asia and Russia. Terrorist networks are known to be active in 60 countries expanding the threat of terrorist attacks beyond their primary targets of the United States and its allies in Western Europe and that it is still possible for these terrorist networks to launch nuclear, chemical and biological attacks.
Other participants echoed this outlook in their presentations noting that terrorists and their organizations continue to change along with their goals and objectives; that the targets of terrorism continue to expand and to shift to new locations and countries; and that the tools and methods of terrorism are increasingly sophisticated, innovative and destructive. Professor Manabu Shimizu of Utsunomya University pointed out that the causes of terrorism in the post-Cold War period are closely associated with the poor socio-economic conditions in many developing countries and a rise in psychological identity problems that many people are having. The socio-economic situation of Central Asian countries, for example, has contributed to the growing influence of Islamic extremist ideas and organizations, while the Aum Shinrikyo group in Japan typified the identity issue. Although the discussion on international terrorism was primarily focused on Islamic extremists such as Al Qaeda and Abu Sayyaf, it was clear to all that terrorism was not simply an Islamic or religious-based phenomenon and that other groups with different political aims are likely to turn to terrorism in the future. Professor Richard Langhorne of the Center for Global Change and Governance at Rutgers University pointed out that forces of globalization have eroded the authority and function of states and governments and are creating higher levels of disaffection and discontent among different groups of people towards their governments and the political process, leading to an increase of violent protests against "globalization" and other forms of political violence by particular interest groups (e.g., the animal rights movement and the more extreme environmentalists). He noted that the failure of governments to overcome the perception of inequities in the global economy and to manage the process of globalization in a fair manner is a major reason why non-state actors will turn to terrorism.
Professor Yang Shu of Lanzhou University commented that the 9/11 attacks marked a new approach and method of terrorists -- simple and uncomplicated, but very effective -- and understanding this change in terrorist methods is critical to anticipating and countering future attacks. Mr. James P. Muldoon, a senior fellow of the Center for Global Change and Governance at Rutgers University -- Newark, also argued that terrorism is not likely to disappear when Al Qaeda is finally destroyed or when extremist ideologies within Islam are discredited and overtaken by more moderate views. He argued that it is important to consider international terrorism in the broadest possible terms since international terrorism is not necessarily exclusive to any one particular ideological, political or religious group.
Professor Liu Hua of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences pointed out that the current international and regional conventions against terrorism include over 100 different legal definitions of terrorism and that the lack of a comprehensive definition of the problem clearly impedes further development of international anti-terrorism cooperation. Professor Zhao Weiming of the Shanghai University of International Studies argued for a universal definition of terrorism which emphasizes more the political aims and targets of terrorism and less the subjects of terrorism and their methods, and called for resolving the problem of the so-called "double standard" in determining what is and what is not international terrorism. Professor Hans Koechler of the International Progress Organization thought that the UN General Assembly is the best forum in which to settle on a universal definition of terrorism and that the Sixth Committee of the Assembly had sufficient material out of which a comprehensive definition could be fashioned.
Many participants debated whether a comprehensive definition of international terrorism should depart from the notion that terrorism is an ideology or a means of political struggle. Li Dongyan of the China Academy of Social Sciences argued that international terrorism is not a universal ideology, pointing out that political violence is rooted in many political ideologies (e.g., anarchism). She maintained that terrorism is clearly a means through which some groups pursue their political goals. Professor Yang Xinyu of Fudan University did not agree with Li’s point of view. He argued that terrorism is a kind of ideology rather than simply a method or pattern. He pointed out that terrorism, today, has become the predominant, and in some cases the sole idea, belief, and/or attribute of certain individuals and groups. The debate among participants on this aspect of contemporary terrorism was an important discussion but inconclusive, demonstrating the immense challenges in reaching a universal or comprehensive definition of international terrorism.
Impact of September 11 on contemporary international relations
Much of the discussion at the conference focused on the varied effects of September 11 and international terrorism is having on international relations and the world economy. Participants pointed out that most states and governments have had to reconsider how they conceptualize national security in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The trans-nationalization of terrorism clearly demonstrates the growing interdependence of national security, pushing states to increase anti- and counter-terrorism cooperation. However, there was a general concern about the impact of international terrorism on the evolving world order. Many participants commented on the many challenges international and regional multilateral security mechanisms are facing in effectively responding to the growing threat of terrorism.
Professor Yang Jiemian of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies pointed out that the relations among the major powers -- namely, the United States, Russia, China, Japan, and the European Union -- have had to make adjustments to take into account non-traditional security challenges that have emerged since 9/11. Professor Yang as well as Ambassador Nicholas Platt of the Asia Society, Professor Chen Qimao, Professor Yuan Jing-dong of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and Professor Huang Renwei of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, all noted that U.S.-China relations in particular have steadily improved over the last 14 months. Problems between them remain, but the events of September 11 and afterwards have created a little more "breathing space" in the relationship as the two countries adjust their policies to a new focus on anti- and counter-terrorism. Ambassador Platt highlighted the substantial "record of cooperation" between the United States and China in combating terrorism around the world during the past year. He noted that the two nations share a common set of interests and perspectives in many regions of the world which has contributed to constructive and practical anti-and counter-terrorism cooperation. Mr. Todd La Vine of the Antiterrorism & Critical Infrastructure Protection group at the U.S. Pacific Command outlined the current operational framework for anti- and counter-terrorism that the U.S. government had developed and enhanced since the September 11 attacks. Although his group’s work is directed towards protecting American military facilities and personnel in the Asia-Pacific region against terrorism, it is also a model the United States is sharing and promoting with other countries in hopes that it will be adopted by their security agencies and help establish a common set of terms and operational modalities for anti- and counter-terrorism cooperation and collaboration.
Professor Huang Renwei argued that the foreign policies of the major world powers have changed considerably after September 11. He suggested that the biggest impact was on U.S. foreign policy which has shifted its focus onto weapons of mass destruction, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, and confronting rogue states (e.g., President Bush’s "Axis of Evil" speech and his administration’s National Security Strategy). Secondly, there has been a shift in the European Union’s foreign relations towards a more robust counter-terrorism focus, although differences have emerged between the EU and the U.S. over the next target(s) in the "war on terror." Third, Russian foreign policy has also changed since 9/11. He noted that Russia is actively seeking closer relations with Europe since both Russia and the EU share a concern about the rise of unilateralism in U.S. foreign policy. Finally, he noted that Japanese participation in the military action in Afghanistan marked a change in Japan’s policies and has increased concerns among its Asian neighbors of a possible return to Japanese militarism. Professor Wu Xinbo of Fudan University argued that international terrorism had changed the "rules of the game" of international relations but it was too early to know what the new rules will be and how they shall be established. He thought that international terrorism was clearly neither a superficial nor temporary problem and that the impact of international terrorism on an emergent "new world order" was still unfolding.
Several participants commented on the importance of the United Nations and regional organizations in the long-term struggle against international terrorism. Professor Hans Koechler pointed out that the United Nations has been dealing with the problem of terrorism for almost three decades, considering it to be the most logical international mechanism for integrating the different anti-terrorism efforts around the world and for developing a comprehensive approach to anti- and counter-terrorism. Indeed, many participants argued that the United Nations should play a "leading role" in the international anti-terrorism struggle and that anti-terrorism cooperation would be more effective through multilateral mechanisms. Professor Alexander Lukin of the Moscow State Institute of International Affairs and Professor Richard Weixing Hu of the University of Hong Kong both commented on the increasing significance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the anti-terrorism struggle on the regional level, noting that the organization has enhanced Sino-Russian anti-terrorism cooperation as well as providing a multilateral framework for the coordination of counter-terrorism efforts in Central Asia and with the United States. James Muldoon noted that anti-terrorism cooperation has substantially increased among countries throughout Asia and become a central issue in the activities of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. However, the current structure of multilateral security cooperation for the region was inadequate to meeting the challenge of terrorism. He argued that the threat of international terrorism provides the basis for establishing a formal multilateral security organization for the Far East that would integrate existing regional and subregional security bodies into a broader regional security architecture.
Many of the presentations concentrated on the changes in U.S. policies since September 11. Professor Liu Xige of the China Foundation for International Strategic Studies argued that the 9/11 terrorist attacks have altered the U.S. relationship with the world, not the world itself. He suggested that international terrorism is an "unexpected" outcome of globalization, especially the globalization of American military and economic power. Indeed, he thought the immense power of the U.S. in the world indirectly contributes to the problem of terrorism. At the same time, he noted that American leadership of the international coalition fighting terrorism is actually a good thing and that the obvious need for the U.S. to cooperate with other governments to effectively combat terrorism places natural constraints on unilateralist tendencies in U.S. foreign policy. Professor Tom Farer of the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver thought that the 9/11 attacks had strengthened the hand of advocates of American unilateralism within the U.S. foreign policy establishment. He argued that the U.S. policies of "pre-emption" and counter-terrorism reflect a profound challenge to the world’s normative system of sovereignty and suggest a trend towards establishing a great powers "condominium" system for governing world order. Professor Zhang Shuguang of the Shanghai University of International Studies argued that September 11 had altered American policies on arms sales and military aid programs that are having profound affects on the international political economy. He noted that U.S. weapons sales and military aid (what he called "Reward Diplomacy") has expanded significantly in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Furthermore, the criteria upon which these policies are based have moved away from the traditional concerns with "soft" issues, such as a country’s human rights record, toward an emphasis on a country’s stated position on and alignment with U.S. anti- and counter-terrorism strategies. He thought that current U.S. military aid policy and arms sales are dangerously short sighted and morally dubious in that this approach gives material support to undemocratic forces in countries, increases arms proliferation, and is likely to cause more conflict in the world.
Mr. Ely Karmon of the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism (Israel) outlined the changes in U.S. policies in the Middle East since September 11. He noted that the Bush administration has been forced to deal differently with its long-standing friend in the region -- Saudi Arabia -- because of the large number of Saudi citizens involved in the 9/11 attacks and the role of Saudi financing of radical Islamists and their organizations. U.S. containment policy towards Iraq and Iran has been abandoned for a more hard line approach to deny Iraq and Iran (as well as other "rogue regimes") the so-called nuclear option; and, U.S. policies for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has moved toward a dual approach -- neutralizing Yasser Arafat and pushing for democratic reforms of the Palestinian Authority, and at the same time promoting the eventual formation of an independent Palestinian state and the political process for a final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. He considered the military campaign against Iraq as more or less inevitable and that its success will make counter- and anti-terrorism efforts more effective, especially in bringing pressure on states supporting or harboring terrorist groups (e.g., Syria, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia) to abandon their support. Ambassador Kim Sangwoo of the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Professor Chongki Choi of the Korean Institute of International Studies both commented on the renewed tensions on the Korean Peninsula. They pointed out that the recent admission of the Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) about the resumption of its nuclear weapons program has raised considerable concerns in the Republic of Korea about the prospects of a military confrontation between the United States and North Korea. However, both thought that the current diplomatic approach in dealing with North Korea is likely to continue and that the U.S. will remain committed to managing the situation in cooperation with the Republic of Korea, China, Russia and Japan.
Throughout the discussion many participants expressed concern about the changes in and the direction of U.S. foreign policy since September 11, especially the rise in American unilateralism and "hegemonic" behavior over the last 14 months. Some thought that the U.S. was giving too much emphasis to military means in counter-terrorism and that the U.S.-led "war on terror" is increasingly a pretense for extending U.S. power and promoting its national interests in the world. Professor Chen Qimao, Professor Wu Xinbo, Professor Liu Ming of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Mr. Jin Yingzhong of the Shanghai Society of International Studies, and Mr. Xie Yunliang of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs all maintained that the current direction of U.S. foreign policy threatened to break up the international anti-terrorism coalition and that the United States needs to be aware of the potential backlash its anti- and counter-terrorism policies could cause. They all advocated strengthening anti-terrorism cooperation through international and regional organizations and pointed out that the "war on terrorism" should be a comprehensive global effort, employing political, economic, and cultural means as well as the military.
International anti- and counter-terrorism cooperation and the role of China
China’s role in combating international terrorism was highlighted throughout the course of the conference. Mr. Zhao Yongchen of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security noted that China’s terrorist problem involved the East Turkestan Islamic Movement and other separatist movements in the Xinjiang region, Tibetan forces seeking independence, the radical cult group of the Falun Gong, and foreign terrorist organizations. He outlined in detail the steps the Department of Counter-Terrorism of the Ministry has taken since September 11, including establishing a nation-wide anti-terrorism mechanism within each local and provincial public security bureau and increasing intelligence sharing and gathering on terrorist groups and organizations with other countries. Professor Chen Qimao pointed out that the Chinese government had taken a firm stand against terrorism well before the 9/11 attacks as reflected by China’s ratification of all the major international conventions against terrorism and is actively promoting international, regional, and bilateral anti- and counter-terrorism cooperation. Mr. Bian Ge of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs remarked on China’s counter-terrorism efforts and cooperation at the United Nations noting that China advocates strengthening the role of the UN Security Council and its Counter-Terrorism Committee. He and Professor Li Dongyan of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences thought that China should and can play a bigger role in anti-terrorism. Professor Farer who thought China should develop a more active foreign policy in general also shared this view.
Professor Pan Guang of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences maintained that a new concept of security is emerging in China. Chinese security is interdependent with the security of other countries. He pointed out that China’s national security was inextricably tied to the more comprehensive notion of global security, which includes political, economic and social aspects, and that China’s anti-terrorism cooperation is guided more and more by the principles of equality and mutual trust and benefit which underpin this new conceptualization. In bringing the conference to a close, Lt. General Liu Lunxian, Vice Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress Standing Committee, remarked that China’s role in the war on terrorism will and should grow. He reiterated the key elements of China’s attitude on anti-terrorism cooperation -- strengthening the leading role of the United Nations Security Council, furthering multi-polarization, narrowing the gap between rich and poor, increasing understanding between peoples through dialogue, and keeping separate anti-terrorism from other political issues. He pointed out that the biggest challenge facing China and the international community is establishing international and multilateral mechanisms, which can respond effectively to future emergencies and crises caused by terrorist attacks and regulate the international situation.
Conclusions and Recommendations
This summary of nearly 40 presentations made during the conference demonstrates there are many ideas and views about the problem of international terrorism and the challenges of international anti-terrorism cooperation shared at the conference from a variety of perspectives. In general, conference participants agreed that international terrorism remains the greatest threat to peace and security in Asia and the world today; that there is an urgent need for more research and study of the multifaceted and complex characteristics of terrorism and its root causes; and, that all governments, particularly the major powers, strengthen anti- and counter-terrorism cooperation internationally, regionally, and bilaterally to overcome the common and growing threat of international terrorism. Although the scope of the conference discussions was such that it was difficult to establish a consensus among the participants on the more detailed aspects of contemporary terrorism, there appeared to be substantial agreement on the fundamentals of anti- and counter-terrorism cooperation as well as the need for China to be more active within the international anti-terrorism coalition. Perhaps more important to the purpose of the conference were the animated discussions during the formal sessions, the coffee breaks, and meals when participants had the opportunity to challenge each other and their views on a range of issues. This aspect of the conference, in the end, helped narrow or bridge many of the differences of opinion and views on the problem of terrorism and how China and the world should deal with the problem.
During the closing session of the conference, three recommendations were made and endorsed for follow-up activities. First, the organizers of the conference, namely the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, the Shanghai Municipal Center for International Studies, and the Shanghai International Culture Association, were encouraged to consider organizing one or more conferences on particular aspects of international terrorism mentioned but not discussed at this conference -- e.g., the forms of non-traditional political violence of non-state actors such as militant animal rights organizations or environmental groups, the characteristics of societal preparedness for and response to terrorism. Second, it was proposed that a comprehensive collection of materials and publications on anti- and counter-terrorism from around the world be organized and maintained in Shanghai to support research in China. Finally, the participants were invited to form the core of a new international network of scholars on international terrorism and anti-terrorism. The purpose of the network is to promote advance research and scholarly exchange (via the internet) on international terrorism.
Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), a leading think-tank and distinguished academic institution, established in 1958, is China’s largest and oldest research institute for the humanities and social sciences at the provincial level. SASS is under the administration of Shanghai Municipal Government. SASS currently has 700 employees, of which about 500 are research staff. SASS is under the leadership of Prof. Yin Jizuo, President and Prof. Zhang Zhongli, Senior Advisor and President Emeritus.
Currently, SASS has 15 Institutes and over ten interdisciplinary research centers which conduct theoretical research and applied studies, with a special focus on important issues arising from the China’s social and economic transformation and its reform and opening up to the outside world. In addition to its comprehensive research program, SASS contributes greatly to China’s development through its policy studies for government authorities and through training as well as consulting services. SASS publishing house publishes more than 100 academic books every year and 23 periodicals. Its publications have been particularly influential to the greater public. SASS has a graduate school for MA and PhD programs.
SASS has a wide international exchange network, having signed long-term agreement with 28 foreign universities and institutions. Every year about 150 SASS scholars travel overseas for research. At the same time SASS hosts around 1200 foreign scholars annually.
From the very beginning, SASS has administered its academic affairs independently, though it receives most of its funds from public sources. SASS also draws financial resource form the National and Municipal Funds for Social Sciences Research, as well as from foreign grants and enterprises.
Shanghai International Culture Association (SICA), a non-governmental institution founded in May 1986, specializes in undertaking international culture exchanges.
It aims at developing international cultural exchanges in diverse forms and in a wide range of fields, promoting the friendly contacts and exchange between Shanghai and the rest of the world, and contributing to Shanghai’s reform, opening and economic development.
As an influential international cultural exchange institution, SICA has established links with hundreds of correspondent organizations in more than fifty countries and regions, sponsoring a large number of colorful cultural exchange events annually.
SICA will do its utmost and cooperate with all walks of life both at home and abroad to meet the new era of international cultural exchange in Shanghai for the promotion of better understanding and friendship between the people in shanghai and the peoples of other countries and regions.
Shanghai Municipal Center for International Studies (SMCIS), a comprehensive research and advisory institution on international issues, was established in May 1985. It is under the leadership of the Shanghai Municipal Government, and under the administration of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. It undertakes its work under the direction of Shanghai former mayor, Prof. Wang Daohan.
SMCIS main tasks include: 1) to organize, coordinate and enhance international studies among institutions, relevant departments and information organizations in Shanghai; to study the political, economic, security and developmental trends in important countries and areas closely related with the development of Shanghai; to focus on the study of countries and regions such as the U.S., Russia, Japan, Europe, East Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East, and their relationship with China; 2) to help international studies institutions in Shanghai in promoting their domestic and overseas academic exchanges; 3) to undertake projects on international studies designated by the Shanghai Municipal Government; 4) to maintain a close relationship with the institutions for international studies in Beijing and conducts research projects on international studies designated by central government departments; and, 5) to provide advisory services on international strategic and policy issues for economic and trade enterprises and other organizations at home and abroad.
SMCIS board of directors is chaired by Prof. Wang Daohan (Chairman of the Association of Cross-Strait Relations) and Prof. Zhang Zhongli and Chen Qimao as its vice chairmen. Its current director is Prof. Pan Guang, and the vice directors are Prof. Huang Renwei and Li Yihai.