By Allawi Ssemanda
Explaining that “Security is a major issue bearing on the world’s future and survival of humanity,” China’s foreign minister H.E. Qin Gang told global leaders during the Opening Ceremony of the Lanting Forum on the Global Security Initiative that; “the world today is not a tranquil place: changes unseen in a century are fast evolving, major-country competition is intensifying, geopolitical conflicts are escalating, the global security governance system is woefully lagging behind, and traditional and non-traditional security threats keep flaring up.” Qin stressed that the challenges the world is facing today are serious that “all countries are confronted by multiple risks and challenges rarely seen in history, and human society faces multiple security dilemmas like never before.”
To address these challenges, Qin explained China’s proposal dubbed Global Security Initiative (GSI) which seeks to address global security challenges. GSI which has as of now received support from over 80 countries and regional organisation was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Boao Forum for Asia’s annual conference in April 2022. Qin contends that GSI “upholds the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, pursues the long-term objective of building a security community, and advocates a new path to security featuring dialogue over confrontation, partnership over alliance and win-win over zero-sum.”
In the released concept paper explaining the GSI, Foreign Minister Qin points out China’s proposed 20 priorities of cooperation, all highly action-oriented, Beijing believes will help in addressing security challenges the world is facing stressing that “the GSI embodies the core tenets in the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind.”
If critically analysed, China’s proposal is the most ideal and practical one the world can get to address global security challenges and concerns. For example, GSI emphasises that; all countries uphold UN’s central role in ensuring global security governance by supporting the body’s efforts in prevention of wars and conflicts; calls for coordination among all major powers where all countries respect each other instead of bullying, Hegemonic and domineering practices.
Thirdly, GSI calls for peaceful settlement of issues through dialogue and consultations as a best approach in addressing hotspot issues. One can argue that other than dialogue, the other options are result into confrontation which comes with heavy costs and avoidable sufferings. In GSI, China also proposed strengthening of systems and capacity for global security governance where international organisations and non-governmental organisations would participate in in efforts meant to address global security and concerns.
Remarking that “Security is a right for all countries. It is not a prerogative of some, still less should it be decided by any individual country,” Foreign Minister Qin argued in this context explained GSI’s major aim will be “serving the interests of all and protect tranquility for all,” while calling for unity and cooperation of the international community in addressing global challenges through win-win cooperation is a sure path to development to ensure a safe world with aim of building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Also, looking at the five principles Qin advocated for to implement the GSI, there is no doubt that the proposal offers the world a greater opportunity to achieve sustainable peace. For example, Foreign Minister Qin stressed importance of mutual respect among all countries where regardless of size, strength and wealth all countries are treated equally as the UN Charter notes and also ensuring “interests of all countries and legitimate security concerns of all parties should be respected.”
Secondly, observing that openness and inclusion are key in addressing global challenges, Qin stressed that GSI will remain open for all countries willing to join adding that it will work to ensure that all efforts for global peace and development will be supported.
The other principle advocated for in implementation of GSI is Bilateral and multilateral security cooperation. Qin argues that if pursued among countries around the world and in line with the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits such cooperation will contribute to a peaceful world and will enhance peaceful resolution of any hotspot issue should it arise since this will ensure that matters that concern to all are addressed by all.
The other principle proposed by Foreign Minister Qin in ensuring successful implementation of GSI is mutual benefit and win-win for all parties. As President Xi observed during the 2022 Boao Forum when he announced GSI proposal; “win-win cooperation is a sure path to development.” As an ancient Chinese philosopher once observed; “Stability brings a country prosperity while instability leads a country to poverty… Security is the precondition for development.” Therefore, as Qin noted, “principle of indivisible security should be followed in all ways. One’s own security and the common security of all should be advanced side by side by pursuing win-win cooperation that contributes to each other’s progress, and opposing zero-sum game that benefits oneself at the cost of others, to expand the converging interests among all.”
With all the above, and of course without fronting power politics while advancing global cooperation, multilateralism and respect for all sovereign countries, and listening to legitimate security concerns of all, GSI offers the world a rare opportunity of attaining sustainable peace and tranquillity which are both key to sustainable development.
China’s Foreign Ministry coming up with a concept paper on GSI at this time when the world is faced with unprecedented challenges such as the conflict between Ukraine and Russia and its effects as well as other non-traditional security challenges is timely and should be backed by all peace-loving countries and leaders. This is based on the fact that peace is a perquisite for development. This means, despite living in different countries and regions, as people, we are living in an indivisible security community. Therefore, to have peace and harmony which are key for development, anything that can antagonise security must be avoided. Such may include divisionism based on selfish interests over others’ concerns. Differences like Cold War mentality, unilateralism, power politics, block formation and confrontation endanger peace and can easily wreck the global peace framework and exacerbate security challenges in the 21st century.
The author is a senior research fellow Development Watch Centre; and author of Why Africa Deserves a Permanent Seat at UNSC
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