By Liu Yantao

What is the Global Security Initiative?

At the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022 on April 21, 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech titled “Rising to Challenges and Building a Bright Future Through Cooperation”, in which he proposed the Global Security Initiative (hereafter referred to as “the Initiative”) for the first time. The Initiative champions commitments in six areas- stay committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and work together to maintain world peace and security; stay committed to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, uphold non-interference in internal affairs, and respect the independent choices of development paths and social systems made by people in different countries; stay committed to abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, reject the Cold War mentality, oppose unilateralism, and say no to group politics and bloc confrontation; stay committed to taking the legitimate security concerns of all countries seriously, uphold the principle of indivisible security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, and oppose the pursuit of one’s own security at the cost of others’ security; stay committed to peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises, reject double standards, and oppose the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction; stay committed to maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains, and work together on regional disputes and global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity.

Why was the Global Security Initiative proposed?

At the moment, changes of the world, of our times and history are unfolding in ways like never before, presenting major concerns to humanity as to “what kind of security concept does the world need and how can countries achieve common security?” As the pandemic continues, war once again broke out in Europe with the Russia-Ukraine conflict charting the world into unknown waters, drastically increasing regional and global tensions and further dragging down world economic recovery and resulting in an ensuing crisis in global energy, food, industrial and supply chain. The World Bank recently lowered its forecast for global economic growth in 2022 from 4.1% to 3.2%. What makes the situation more complicated and severe is that some countries are still clinging to the obsolete cold-war mentality and are keen on forming exclusive “small circles” and “small groups”, practicing unilateralism in the name of multilateralism and hegemony in the name of democracy, applying double-standards in disguise of maintaining order, making everything a matter of national security, provoking confrontation between different social systems and ideologies, while suppressing and containing the economic and technological development of other countries.

The Global Security Initiative, in practicing the concept of a Community with A Shared Future for Mankind in the security area, is China’s latest contribution to the international community against the backdrop of increasing global security governance deficit, by responding to the urgent need of the international community to maintain world peace and prevent conflicts and wars, conforming to the common pursuit of all countries in the world to uphold multilateralism and maintain international solidarity, and echoing the common aspiration of people from all countries to overcome difficulties at the times and create a better post-pandemic world. The Global Security Initiative echoes and complements the Global Development Initiative proposed by President Xi last year. It is in line with the trend of the times for peace, development, and win-win cooperation, seeks the biggest common ground of the international community, and provides a new path for all countries in pursuing peace and development.

Where did the Global Security Initiative come from?

The Initiative is rooted in China’s independent foreign policy for peace, and unique diplomatic practice and wisdom. As early as 68 years ago, in the movement of decolonization that emerged after the end of World War II, China, India and Myanmar jointly advocated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence including mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence, making a historic contribution to promoting a new type of just and reasonable international relations and maintaining peaceful coexistence among countries of diversified institutional and cultural backgrounds around the world. China has long been a builder of world peace. As a major power, China has the best track record in global peace and security, as it has never provoked a war, nor invaded an inch of another country’s land, nor engaged in any proxy wars, nor joined or formed any military blocs. As a persistent guardian of the international order, China has joined almost all the intergovernmental international organizations and more than 400 international multilateral treaties, sending more than 50,000 peacekeepers to UN peacekeeping missions. China is the second largest contributor to the UN membership fee and the second largest contributor to UN peacekeeping force. China insists on doing its part well for global development, taking the lead in achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals, contributing more than 70% to global poverty reduction, and ranking first in terms of contribution to the world economy growth for 15 consecutive years. China has been actively mediating on hotspot issues all around the world. On the Middle East, the Iranian nuclear issue, the Korean Peninsula, Afghanistan and Ukraine, China consistently advocates a balanced solution to accommodating the legitimate concerns of all parties via peace talks and political settlements, and plays a constructive role in easing regional and international tensions.

How Relevant is the Global Security Initiative?

Jointly safeguarding world peace and security is an integral part of the China-Cyprus Strategic Partnership. China and Cyprus share similar principles and concepts in firmly upholding the authority and role of the United Nations, and jointly practicing true multilateralism. Under the current situation, the two countries should unswervingly safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core, defend the international order based on the international law, adhere to the common values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom for all mankind, whilst oppose stoking conflict and confrontation along the ideological lines, as well as oppose acts that undermine the international order in the name of “rules” or drag the world into a new Cold War.

The Global Security Initiative also has positive implications for the settlement of the Cyprus Problem. At present, the political process of Cyprus issue has been stalled, with the further opening of the fenced-off area of Varosha impeding the rekindling of the talks between the two Communities. By actively practicing the Global Security Initiative, relevant parties are encouraged to adhere to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, abide by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions on the Cyprus Problem, fully respect the will of the Cypriot people, and promote a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement on the basis of a “bi-communal and bi-zonal federation”. As a permanent member of the Security Council, China is ready to continue to uphold an objective and fair position, firmly support Cyprus’ efforts in safeguarding its national sovereignty and territorial integrity and consistently play a positive and constructive role on the Cyprus Problem.

The Global Security Initiative also offers solution to the Ukraine crisis. Humanity is living in a community of indivisible security. The same goes for Europe as well. It is unsustainable to obtain absolute security by compromising the security of other countries, and regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding military blocs. Relevant parties should respect the legitimate security concerns of all countries and build a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism, so as to achieve universal and common security. Relevant parties should also insist on resolving differences and disputes in a peaceful manner through dialogue and consultation. The international community should jointly oppose the intention of certain forces with ulterior purposes to provoke or even add fuel to the conflict and obstruct the ongoing peace talks, and encourage all parties in conflicts to achieve security and peace through dialogue.

The Global Security Initiative is proposed by China but benefits the whole world. It is another global public good provided by China and is open to participation by all countries. China is ready to work with the international community to actively promote and implement the Initiative for practical results and make the world more peaceful, secure and prosperous.

Liu Yantao is China’s ambassador to Cyprus