Changes of the world, of our times and of history are unfolding today in ways like never before, posing challenges that must be taken seriously by humanity. At this moment, critical to world peace and development, President Xi Jinping made a keynote speech entitled “Rising to Challenges and Building a Bright Future Through Cooperation” at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022, and proposed for the first time the Global Security Initiative (GSI).
This important initiative gives explicit answers to questions of our times such as what security concept the world needs and how countries can achieve common security. It fully demonstrates President Xi Jinping’s concerns for world peace and development, his internationalist vision, and his leadership as head of a major country. It contributes China’s wisdom to the efforts of mankind in tackling peace deficit, and offers China’s solution to addressing international security challenges.
On February 21, 2023, China officially released the Global Security Initiative Concept Paper. The concept paper expounds the core ideas and principles of the GSI, identifies priorities, platforms and mechanisms of cooperation, and demonstrates China’s sense of responsibility safeguarding world peace and firm resolve to defend global security. The concept paper is highly action-oriented:
The first is to uphold the UN’s central role in security governance. The UN should be supported in its efforts to prevent war and conflict, develop the peace-building architecture and promote post-war reconstruction, and in playing a bigger role in global security affairs. The second is to promote coordination and sound interactions among major countries. Major countries should take the lead in upholding equality, cooperation and the rule of law. Hegemonic, bullying and domineering practices should be rejected, and joint efforts should be made to build a framework of major-country relations featuring peaceful coexistence, overall stability and balanced development.
The third is to facilitate peaceful settlement of hotspot issues through dialogue. Support should be extended to the parties involved to settle their disputes and differences through dialogue and consultation. The international community should speak up for justice, cool down hotspots and deflate tensions. The fourth is to tackle traditional and non-traditional security challenges and promote global strategic stability, oppose arms race, and defuse nuclear war risks. Combined efforts are needed to fight COVID-19, combat terrorism, and safeguard data security, bio-security, and the stability of supply chain and scientific and technological chains.
The fifth is to strengthen the system and capacity for global security governance. A security governance architecture featuring coordination among governments and international organisations and participation of non-governmental organisations should be developed. Some Nepali friends may ask, what is the underlying logic of China’s GSI, why is it better, more feasible, and more beneficial to the world? There are three reasons:
The GSI is rooted in the fine traditional Chinese culture that values peace above everything else. “Common Good” and “universal peace” have been the sincere aspirations of the Chinese people since ancient times. As President Xi pointed out, we humans are living in an indivisible security community, and the fundamental solution to global security challenges is upholding the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.
To achieve universal and common security, countries need to follow the principle of indivisible security, take seriously the legitimate security concerns of all others, and build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture. Members of the global family must peacefully resolve differences and disputes through dialogue and consultation, and no one should pursue its own ” absolute security” at the risk of cornering others into “absolute insecurity”.
The way out of crises is to encouratge all parties to defuse tensions through dialogue, rather than fanning the flames by abusing sanctions and reaping profits from arms sales. The GSI is inspired by China’s independent foreign policy of peace and its practices. Since the founding of New China, the country has adhered to the path of peaceful development. It never started a war, never occupied one inch of foreign land, never engaged in proxy wars, and never participated in or organised any military bloc.
Among the major countries, China has the best peace and security record. China is the first founding member of the United Nations to sign on the UN Charter. It firmly upholds the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and advocates respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. China has dispatched the most peacekeepers among the permanent members of the UN Security Council. It is the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget.
On the Palestinian issue, the Iranian nuclear issue, the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, and the Afghan issue, China has played an important role in construction. More than proposing the GSI, China acts on this major initiative. The world today is facing unprecedented risks of division. President Xi Jinping pointed out unequivocally that the Cold War mentality would only wreck the global peace framework, hegemonism and power politics would only endanger world peace, and that bloc confrontation would only exacerbate security challenges in the 21st century.
The GSI is rooted in true multilateralism. It calls upon all countries to abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and reject the obsolete mentality of zero-sum game and bloc confrontation. It advocates the win-win mindset to address the complex and intertwined security challenges, and champions the spirit of solidarity to adapt to the profoundly changing international landscape. It has provided a new approach for improving global security governance.
By following the trend of history and taking the right path, one can reach high and go far. China stands ready to work with all peace-loving countries and peoples committed to development to carry out the GSI put forward by President Xi Jinping, open up a broad path toward lasting peace and universal security, and forge a strong synergy to build a community with a shared future for mankind. Let the torch of peace be passed on from generation to generation and the sound of peace echo throughout the world.
(The author is China’s Ambassador to Nepal.)