China released a Global Security Initiative (GSI) Concept Paper on Tuesday, fully elaborating a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept and providing China’s wisdom in tackling growing risks and challenges in traditional and non-traditional security areas. Chinese diplomats and experts hailed the release of the document as timely, necessary and targeted, saying that it provides a detailed blueprint in tackling global and regional hotspot issues in an effective way, especially further clarifying China’s peace-promoting position on the Ukraine crisis.
In a forum held at the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday morning, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang unveiled the concept paper and told the audience that the document underscores China’s responsibilities and determination in safeguarding world peace. “‘What kind of security concept the world needs and how countries achieve common security?’ has become a topic of our days,” Qin said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the GSI at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022 held in Hainan Province in April 2022. The concept is now welcomed and supported by more than 80 countries and regions, the Chinese foreign minister said.
Ambassadors, diplomats and representatives from 137 countries and international organizations attended the forum on Tuesday. Some diplomats told the Global Times during the event that they welcomed China-proposed security initiative, saying that it would be important to solve disputes through dialogue rather than bloc confrontation or hegemony.
During his speech, Qin noted that China’s development is impossible without a safe international environment. Similarly, without China’s security, there will be no global security.
“President Xi first proposed a new vision for security, which goes beyond traditional security ideas and power politics in the West,” Xu Bu, president of the China Institute of International Studies and secretary-general of the Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy Studies Center, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
It transcends the long-term practice of Western countries of building their own security on the basis of jeopardizing the security of other countries. When times are so turbulent, “we need a correct vision as guidance,” Xu said.
As the world is approaching the one-year anniversary of the Ukraine crisis this week, the US and some Western countries have been continuing to fan the flames and escalate the tension by sending more weapons to Ukraine, and making political gestures like the surprise visit by US President Joe Biden to Kiev on Monday.
“China is deeply concerned about the escalating conflict and potential for situation to spiral out of control,” Qin said, commenting on the Ukraine crisis during the forum. China will continue to promote peace talks, provide Chinese wisdom for a comprehensive solution to the Ukraine issue, and work with the international community to promote dialogue and consultation to address the concerns of all parties to seek common security, he said.
The Chinese foreign minister urged relevant countries to immediately stop adding fuel to the fire on the matter, stop blaming China and stop provoking the situation by using references like “Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow.”
Some Western media outlets, citing experts, claimed that the concept paper “continued Beijing’s ambiguity over the Ukraine crisis,” suggesting that it appears to be largely a strategic messaging exercise rather than a fully thought-out strategy.
“In fact, we have a very clear position on the Ukraine issue. This document points out some basic ideas on solving the crisis in a much clearer way,” Fu Cong, head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
China will also put forward a more comprehensive and authoritative position document in the next few days in terms of a political settlement of the Ukraine issue including some basic ideas such as respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty, respecting the UN Charter and resolving disputes through peaceful means, Fu said.
“One country’s security cannot be built on the non-security of another country. All the security concerns of relevant countries should be respected… those basic ideas have been included in the paper, which should play a leading role in preventing further escalation and in seeking peaceful solutions,” the Chinese envoy said.
The concept paper provides an important path to further implement the GSI over 20 key cooperation areas and six cooperation platforms, which could be actionable measures, Wang Dong, an expert on China-US relations at Peking University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
“Although Qin did not mention the US by name in the speech, he urged the US not to fuel the conflict, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and stop comparing the Ukraine crisis with the Taiwan question, to which we are firmly opposed to,” Wang from Peking University said, noting that China’s position is always clear as it always stands on the side of peace, de-escalation and advancing peace talks.
“The document was unveiled in order to fully elaborate our position – that is supporting a UN-centered multilateralism when some Western countries keep blaming us for being pro-Russia,” Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Some Chinese experts believe that China holds the most objective and neutral stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict as it is taking a very fair attitude toward both sides. In contrast, the US – part of the root cause of the conflict – raised doubts over China’s position as Washington views it from its own interests and perspective.
“Under the GSI concepts and ideas, when it comes to the Ukraine crisis, the future security of Europe can’t exclude Russia,” Wang said. As now some forces like the US hope to bring down Russia and exclude the country from Europe in security and energy, that is unrealistic, Wang Yiwei noted.
New type of foreign relations
During the forum, the Chinese Foreign Minister emphasized that security is the right of all countries in the world, which is not held exclusively by some countries nor should it be decided by certain countries. “We welcome any country who is willing to join the GSI and support world peace and development,” Qin said.
The document highlights the positive interaction between major countries and the special responsibilities that a major country needs to shoulder in safeguarding global peace. Security and development are complimentary to building a new type of international relations, which is underscored in China-proposed ideas, Chinese experts said.
In terms of cooperation mechanisms, the paper supports multilateral platforms, for example, on establishing a new security framework in the Middle East, it supports the League of Arab States and other regional organizations in playing a constructive role, while in resolving regional conflicts, fighting terrorism and safeguarding maritime security, it supports the efforts of African countries, the AU and sub-regional organizations’ efforts.
“We are firmly opposed to hegemony and power politics in all forms, the Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation,” Qin told the forum.
Some Western media also highlighted that although the GSI paper mentioned some multilateral mechanisms but it did not mention the organizations like NATO.
Against the backdrop of the US-China rivalry, the China-proposed security vision clearly targets US-led bloc confrontation which desires to expand NATO, including into Asian Pacific, that only creates enemies or restructure supply chains in the name of security, creating more confrontation, Wang noted. “In contrast, China is pushing forward a new type of international relations that are inclusive and balanced, tackling challenges together and achieve the security for all.”