Upholding a Global Security Vision and Building a World of Common Security

By Bai Tian

In May 2014, President Xi Jinping initiated the Asian security vision featuring common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable securityat the Summitof the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) held in Shanghai. It was warmly welcomed and highly commended by the international community, Asian countries in particular.At the opening of the 86th InterpolGeneral Assembly in 2017, President Xi put forward a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security for the world. He emphasized that countries should work together to address security challenges, seek security and stability through cooperation, and promote peace and development through security, so as to create an environment of lasting security and stabilityfor people around the world. This has further highlighted China’s new security vision.

At the 26th group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in December 2020,General Secretary Xi pointed out that inpursuing a holistic approach to national security, we need to advance international common security, hold high the banner of cooperation, innovation, the rule of law and win-win results, and fostera vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security for the world.International cooperation should be strengthened and global security governance systemimproved as we work together for a community with a shared future for mankind that ensures security for all.The global security vision has become a vital part of the holistic approach to national security. Itprovides important, principleguidance for China to carry out international cooperation and exchanges on security, and to safeguard international peace and security. It has alsolent strongimpetus to accelerated efforts toward a community with a shared future for mankind onthe security front.

China’s Global Security Vision Responds Accurately to Human Security Challenges

The world is in a phase of fluidity and transformation. The trend toward multi-polarity and economic globalization is deepening; IT application in social development and cultural diversity are growing;and a new round of scientific and industrial revolution is in the making. Peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit have become unstoppable trends of history like never before.That said, the time we live in is not without dangerous rapids and hidden shoals. Various risks and challenges keep emerging. With a growing backlash against globalization, resurgence of the Cold War mentality, anemic global growth, andever more pronounced non-traditional globalsecurity threats such as public health crisis, terrorism and new forms of crime, complexity and uncertainty have become a new reality of international security. Confronted with multiple common challenges,humanity needs new wisdomto find fresh solutions.

With a keen understanding of the new trends of the evolvinginternational security situation, drawing on the theories and practices of all countries in safeguarding national security, and in response to the immediate security problems in today’s world, President Xi proposed that all countries would enjoy dignity, development and security only when theyuphold the new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and work together to tackle various problems.China has put forward and implemented the global security vision, not only for maintaining the overall stability of its own national security, but also for promoting common security of humanity and world peace and development.This vision shows China’scommitment to safeguarding its own security as well as international, common security, and its sense of responsibility asa major country. It is a new, great vision that reflects thetrend of history and answers the call of the times.

China’s Global Security Vision Boasts Rich Substance

Common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainablesecurity are core elements of theglobal security vision. It demonstrates the distinct style, inclusiveness and wisdom of China.

The global security vision calls for respecting and protecting the security of each and every country to achieve common security. President Xi pointed out that security should be common, equal and inclusive. We cannot just have the security of one or some countries while leaving the rest insecure, still less should one seek the so-called absolute security of itself at the expense of the security of others.Common security means that security should work both ways. In other words, one needs to protect the security of others while ensuring that of its own.Countries may differ instrength, ideology, political system, interests and aspirations, but they are all equal members of the international community and interdependent stakeholders in security interactions with a common stake. The world has been heavily hit by COVID-19 since 2020, and people have realized more than ever that countries are so interdependent that they all have a stake in each other’s security. We won’t be able to ensure our own security unless we help one another, pulltogether and realize common security.

The global security visioncalls forupholding both traditional and non-traditional security to achieve comprehensive security.President Xi underscored that security issues are closely connected with political, economic, cultural, ethnic and religious issues, and that non-traditional and traditional security threats are intertwined. A seemingly simple security issue usually requires more than a simplistic, palliative approach, otherwise one may end up treating only the symptoms, but not the underlying cause of the problem.President Xi also stressed the importance of a multi-pronged, holistic and coordinated approach toglobal security governance. It is essential toboth tackle the immediate security challenges andplan ahead for potential security threats.This is the case with the issue of terrorism. Terrorism is both a non-traditional security threat, and one tangled up with various factors such as geopolitics, religion, culture and economic development.Such a malaise could hardly be rooted out with only one kind of remedy. Instead, it requires a long-term and holistic approachto address both the symptoms and the root causes.

The global security visioncalls forjoint efforts to achieve cooperative security. As President Xi pointed out,just as many problems are no longer confined within one country, many challenges can no longer be addressed by one country alone. Global challenges require a collective response from all countries. Security issues today are becoming more contagious, interconnected and transnational. No country can single-handedly achieve its own security.Rather, all countries need to respond properly by working together in solidarity and coordination, seek security and stability through cooperation, and contribute to an international environment of enduring security and stability.For example, the increasingly rampant piracyposes a serious threat to international shipping, safety of commercial maritime routes and the security and economic development of relevant countries. It also involves such factors as sovereignty, safety of shipping lanes andUnited Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Greater coordination and synergy in the international community is therefore needed to formulate a comprehensive strategy for preventing and combating piracy.

The global security vision calls for equal attention on security and development to achieve sustainable security. As President Xi observed, the tree of peace does not grow on barren land while the fruit of development is not produced amidst flames of war. He also stressed on multiple occasions that security is the prerequisite of development, and development the safeguard for security.For many countries, development provides the greatest security and is the master key for addressing security issues. Without economic and social development, it is unlikely for a country to enjoy lasting peace and security, a society to maintain order and people to live a happy life. Sustainable security requires a focus on development, and active efforts to improve people’s well-being, narrow the wealth gap and cement the foundation of security. In recent years, some countries have seen their people displaced and their economies and societies in severe regression due to wars and conflicts. This has in turn fueled domestic turbulence, and perpetuated a vicious cycle of deteriorating security and development.

The global security vision calls for resolving the world’s complex security issues with a systemic and win-win approach, instead of clinging to the outdated mentalities of zero-sum game, absolute security and small groupings. This vision carries forward the traditional Chinese philosophy of seeing the world as one community, represents the CPC’s pursuit of peaceful development, and meets the CPC’s original aspiration and mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people, rejuvenation for the Chinese nation and harmony for the entire world. It has thus received more and more recognition and applause from the international community. People from various countries agree that the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security for the world is substantive and advanced, reflecting the shared values of humanity. The vision points the way for maintaining security and promoting prosperity globally, and will contribute to closer security cooperation among countries for a stable and harmonious international security environment.

China’s Global Security Vision Applies Extensively

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has, in a far-sighted and innovative manner, achieved fruitful outcomes in practicing the global security vision. China has helped galvanize global efforts to fight COVID-19. We sent medical expert teams to countries and international organizations in need, provided assistance in the form of medical supplies, shared our containment experience, diagnostics and therapeutics, and helped make COVID-19 vaccines a global public good. These efforts have contributed enormously to global public health security.China has actively responded to climate change. At the UN General Assembly, we made asolemn commitment to strive to peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. We have strengthened practical cooperation with other countries, and made great contributions to global climate efforts.China has made tremendous efforts in Xinjiang to improve people’s lives, promote awareness on the rule of law, and offer vocational education and training to remove the breeding ground of terrorism and extremism. We have carried out active exchanges and cooperation on counter-terrorism and de-radicalization with other countries plagued by terrorism, and made significant contributions to global security and counter-terrorism efforts.

Amid profound changes unseen in a century, China will honor its commitments and focus on managing its own affairs well. It will also work tirelessly to live up to the global security vision and uphold world peace and security.

China will continue to pursue peaceful development and actively take on international responsibilities compatible with its national strength and status. No matter how the international landscape may change, China will remain committed to peaceful development, and it expects all other countries to do the same. No matter how China develops, it will never seek hegemony, expansion or sphere of influence. As a staunch supporter of international equity and justice, China stands firm against hegemonism and power politics. It will respond to the call of the people around the world, proactively adapt to and lead the trend of the times, and live up to its responsibilities as a major country to promote world peace and development.

China will continue to advance security cooperation with other countries to jointly address complex security challenges. It will make more friends based on the principle of fostering partnerships instead of alliances, advancing security coordination and cooperation among major countries, and expanding and deepening security cooperation with friendly neighbors and other developing countries. Through broad, in-depth security cooperation and exchanges, we aim to cement bilateral political trust, support each other in maintaining political security and social stability, actively respond to global security challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cyber security and piracy, and jointly foster a more solid and reliable security environment both at home and globally.

China will continue to uphold multilateralism and advance the reform and development of the global security governance system. China will stay committed to greater democracy in international relations, maintain that global affairs should be addressed through consultation, and facilitate efforts towards a fairer and more equitable international order. China will continue to uphold the spirit of international rule of law, and safeguard the international system with the UN at its core and the international order underpinned by international law. With an innovative spirit, China will actively participate in reforming and developing the global security governance system, offer more Chinese wisdom and solutions to global governance reform, and encourage the international community to address various global security issues with stronger and more effective measures.

China will continue to participate constructively in the political settlement of hotspot issues as a responsible major country. It will continue its deep engagement in resolving international and regional hotspot issues, such as the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue, Afghanistan, Syria, and the Middle East Peace Process, with a view to bridging differences through equal dialogue and resolving disputes through negotiation and consultation. It will uphold existing multilateral security agreements and consensus, and oppose unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction. China will work with all peace-loving nations to safeguard and promote peace and security of our world.

Bai Tian is Director-General of the Department of External Security Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.