2-3 November 2016, Beijing
At first sight, the Beijing Hotel is an ideal spot for a relaxed meeting. On smog free days the conference hall on the 18th floor offers splendid views of Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City. But the participants of the Core Group Meeting of the Munich Security Conference who gathered there last Wednesday had little time for the views or other tourist pleasures. Their agenda was packed with a host of complex and controversial subjects.
50 experts, entrepreneurs and politicians from China, Germany, the United States, Vietnam, Japan and other countries had gathered to discuss how an increasingly assertive China might find and define its place in the international security order. The Core Group meeting, held in Beijing for the second time since 2011, was a joint initiative of MSC and the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA). MERICS acted as a knowledge partner.
In the following sessions of the Core Group Meeting, many other controversial security issues were openly discussed. Thursday's closing session, hosted by MERICS president Sebastian Heilmann and attended by AIIB Chairman Jin Liqun, focused on China's ambitious “Belt and Road Initiative” and took place in the Great Hall of the People. It was a harmonious panel, even if some doubts remained whether the countries along the “New Silk Road” will really benefit in the long run.
Concrete decisions or declarations were not what MSC chairman Ischinger had in mind when he initiated the Beijing meeting. "If you want to solve problematic issues, you have to rely on two basic traits of human nature,” he said “trust and the ability to compromise. This is what we are trying to achieve with this event: To make people think!"