By Mohamed Jalloh
Director, China Africa Institute, University of Makeni
HE. Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a Global Security Initiative which stressed a commitment to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and the rejection of a Cold War mentality, group politics and bloc confrontation while delivering a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022 in South China’s Hainan Province recently.
The initiative’s core concept is that of a shared, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. The proposal also adheres to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, upholds the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and is aimed at resolving disputes through peaceful means. It also takes into account the security concerns of all countries.
The proposal was necessary and urgent as solidarity, security and development is needed amid rising concerns over the impact on global stability and the economy brought by the Ukraine crisis and attempts to build small cliques to create confrontation. The proposal called on countries to take a comprehensive security concept to avoid the Cold War mentality and also injected confidence in the global economic recovery.
As President Xi correctly points out, we humanity are living in an indivisible security community. The Cold War mentality would only wreck the global peace framework, hegemonism and power politics would only endanger world peace, and bloc confrontation would only exacerbate security challenges in the 21st century. Therefore, the Global Security Initiative meets the call of the times. It stresses to stay committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and work together to maintain world peace and security. It rejects the Cold War mentality, opposes unilateralism, and says no to group politics and bloc confrontation.
The initiative also opposes the pursuit of one’s own security at the cost of others’ security or the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction, rejects double standards, and stays committed to peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultations, and supports efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises.
The Global Security Initiative is a timely call for countries to uphold the comprehensive and sustainable security vision at the time when the world is facing unprecedented challenges in terms of the pandemic and geopolitical conflicts.
Indeed, countries around the world are like passengers aboard the same ship. We cannot just take care of our passenger cabins (countries). We must also take care of our ship. Hence, we need to strengthen and not weaken multilateralism, as emphasized by President Xi.
The Global Security Initiative is a new proposal but its contents are not unfamiliar to us as these are the principles and concepts China has always practiced and proposed on building shared, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.
We can recall that in last year’s United Nations General Assembly, President Xi proposed a Global Development Initiative in steering global development toward a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive growth in the face of severe shocks caused by COVID-19. The Global Security Initiative, which closely followed the Global Development Initiative, stresses security as the premise to development – making the two initiatives more logically integrated.
By rejecting confrontations among different groups, this initiative also stressed the connection between local security and global security. A single country’s security is closely related to the region’s security and security issues are also closely related to other issues. No country can solve major security issues alone.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict was caused by the Cold War mentality and also a geopolitical game that not only undermines regional security but also affects global stability. This conflict is a reference point for China’s new concept of global security. Group politics, as we see from US attempts to round up Russia after the conflict with different platforms of coalitions, is a dangerous approach, because these countries are only looking out for themselves and don’t see the spillover effect on the world economy. The Global Security Initiative aims to jump out of the confrontation to take an overall view on security issues among different countries and regions. It offers the Chinese approach to promoting peace.
Even though Sierra Leone is far from this conflict, we can still feel the pain it has caused to our economy especially the escalating costs of fuel and other essential commodities. In this sense, President Xi is wise in calling the west to stop using blocs against countries, respect regional interests, and treat security as the different side of the same coin of development.
While China is calling for global solidarity to deal with common challenges, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman was in Brussels to participate in a dialogue on China with EU partners, which was the US’ latest move to coordinate EU allies to contain China.
The sharp contrast clearly shows who is showing responsibilities and taking the initiatives in promoting global cooperation and who is sowing trouble and inciting confrontations.
To sum up, President Xi Jinping’s Global Security Initiative is a great answer to the question of what kind of security concept the world needs and how countries can achieve common security.