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24 March 2023: AN OBJECTIVE LOOK AT A CHINA-LED FRAMEWORK

Context: China recently unveiled the Global Security Initiative (GSI) concept paper that seeks to restore stability and security, especially in Asia.

Background: Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang highlighted the recently unveiled Global Security Initiative (GSI) concept paper. The GSI is seen as a plan put together by China to bring back stability and security, especially in Asia. According to the Chinese Foreign Minister, it outlined five key pillars for effectively implementing the GSI: mutual respect, openness and inclusion, multilateralism, mutual benefit, and a holistic approach. It is a vision of a future security order that is very different from China’s recent track record of external relations.

Importance of paper in the present scenario

Even though promoting these principles is important and timely given how the international geopolitical landscape is changing in a way that hurts the developing world, a realistic look at the GSI shows that it is just a story to compete with the United States leadership and dominance. prepared as US-led concepts.

So, as the war in Ukraine gets worse and people in developing countries change their minds about the West, China is trying to take advantage of these problems by promoting itself as a strong alternative leader. Is. 

But a fair look at China’s recent history of working with other countries shows a very different picture than what Beijing says about the future security order.

Crux of the Global Security Initiative

The first principle of the Global Security Initiative is that countries should follow the UN Charter and international law while making it easier for them to have relationships based on trust and respect for each other’s feelings.

In its relationships with its neighbours over the past few years, China has done nothing but show the opposite.

Along its southwest border, China continues to say that its relations with New Delhi not only ignore unilateral confidence-building measures and bilateral agreements but also constantly threaten India’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. have been Similarly, China is also increasing its assertiveness in the South China Sea by militarizing the disputed maritime zone at the cost of the sovereignty and sovereign rights of its Southeast Asian neighbours.

Also, China continues to aggressively invade and block its neighbours’ access to their Exclusive Economic Zones, which is against international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

East vs. West

GSI’s second principle lies in its openness to leading inclusive international engagements. While this situation is catalyzed by the presence of US treaty alliances in the Western Pacific, ironically, China also engages in exclusionary policies in the East and South China Seas. This is not only a clear rejection of the freedom of navigation enshrined in international law, but it is also a display of narrowly defined interests seeking to strengthen their sphere of influence in the region.

Security Cooperation and Coordination

The third principle is about security cooperation on both a bilateral and multilateral level, as well as talking to the right people about security issues.

China has a big role in many international organizations, but its view of consultation can be seen through the lens of unequal power relationships. For example, it tries to stop members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations from acting together against Beijing’s claims.

Also, China keeps putting off making a major code of conduct for the South China Sea, even though it keeps sending its military into the disputed area and using different “gray zone” strategies.

Chinese Hegemony and Global Resistance

The fourth principle shows how important it is for global security projects to have cooperation where everyone involved can benefit.

The principle of the Belt and Road Initiative is a much-needed cooperative framework given the lack of critical infrastructure in the developing world, but it disregards international macroeconomic stability by financing unsustainable projects for countries with low or non-existent credit ratings, which creates more debt.

As another sign that Beijing doesn’t care about its neighbor’s sovereignty and sovereign rights, China has insisted on exploring resources in Philippine waters with Manila in order to get a bigger share.

A holistic approach to traditional and non-traditional security threats

The last principle of the GSI is that traditional and non-traditional security threats should be dealt with in a holistic way, with equal emphasis on getting rid of “breeding grounds for insecurity.”

Over the years, China’s rise in a changing multipolar international system has led to power competition with established and rising great powers, like the US and India, that want to keep and strengthen the established order.

Instead of being all-encompassing, China’s interactions with these powers show that its power goals are more narrowly defined. China has also contributed to insecurity in areas outside of traditional security. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic and the arming of terrorist groups like those in Myanmar have both been blamed on China.

Applicability of the Global Security Initiative

GSI on its own, without a clear understanding of how well it has met its core requirements in the past, is a long way from being a sustainable, fair, and open solution to the world’s growing security problems.

Instead, the GSI shows that Beijing is trying to counter US leadership with stories, even though it can run such projects well on the ground.