China’s Xi calls for Asian unity against outsiders

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday called on Asian nations to keep the future of the region in their hands and proposed a Global Security Initiative respecting the sovereignty of all countries amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in a veiled attack on the United States’ forays into the region with the Indo-Pacific strategy.

President Xi, speaking via video link at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022, outlined a six-point proposal for global security which broadly confirms China’s stand on Russia’s war against Ukraine to protect what Moscow states its security interests against Kyiv joining the NATO alliance.

China has declined to condemn Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine and highlighted Moscow’s concerns over NATO expansion threatening its security.

In his proposals, Xi said that countries should respect 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.

“The countries should 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,” he said.

Also, the countries should be 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, he said, in an apparent dig at the US using sanctions as a weapon against other nations.

The counties should be 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, he said.

Countries around the world are like passengers aboard the same ship. For the ship to navigate the storm and sail toward a bright future, all passengers must pull together, he said.

“The thought of throwing anyone overboard is simply not acceptable,” Xi said.

He also called on the Asian countries to follow the path of peace and development and seek win-win cooperation.

No matter their size and strength, the countries both in and outside the region should add splendour rather than trouble to Asia, he said in a veiled attack on the US galvanising nations in the region against Beijing’s aggressive expansion in the disputed South China Sea.

“Choosing dialogue and cooperation over zero-sum games, openness and inclusiveness over a closed-door and exclusive approach, and exchanges and mutual learning over a sense of superiority: this is the only choice worthy of the broad-mindedness of Asians,” Xi said.

China has been critical of the US’ Indo-Pacific strategy to assert the freedom of navigation opposing Beijing’s aggressive expansion in the disputed South China Sea.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan have counterclaims over the South China Sea.

China opposes the Quad alliance comprising the US, India, Australia, and Japan as well as the AUKUS alliance of the US, Australia and the UK which Beijing asserts is aimed at curbing its rise.

“In this day and age, the international community has evolved so much that it has become a sophisticated and integrated apparatus,” Xi said.

Acts to remove any single part will cause serious problems to its operation, he said.

“When that happens, both the victims and the initiators of such acts will stand to lose,” he said.

He called for making Asia an anchor for world peace, a powerhouse for global growth, and a new pacesetter for international cooperation.

It is particularly important for major countries to lead by example in honouring equality, cooperation, good faith, and the rule of law, and act in a way befitting their status, the Chinese president added.

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