By George Muntu
His views and proposals have been widely echoed by the international community, since they offered approaches to get out of the current difficulties through joint efforts by all countries, and pointed out the way forward for creating a better future for humanity.
President Xi said, the problem facing the world are intricate and complex, the way out of them is through upholding multilateralism and building a shared future for mankind. In his previous speech at the WEF in 2017, Xi strongly advocated free trade and defended the benefits of globalisation. His vision is widely believed to be a proper way to revive the world economy, to improve people’s livelihood, to enhance solidarity and cooperation, and to promote peaceful, inclusive and sustainable development so as to guarantee lasting security of the world.
Apart from that, Xi emphasized the importance of abiding by the international law and rules, stating that international governance should be based on rules and the consensus reached among nations, not on the order given by one or a few countries.
As we are all aware, the world is currently facing a lot of challenges due to the behaviours of a few major powers refusing to respect and enforce the international law. Another factor that contributes to those challenges is the tendency of some Western countries, notably the United States, to use their domestic laws and regulations to punish other countries, especially those who dare challenge their supremacy in global and regional affairs. These challenges, including economic sanctions, financial restrictions, trade and technological warfare, etc., undermine global cooperation and economic growth.
Recent years have witnessed the United States withdrawing from various international agreements and organizations, such as the Iran Nuclear Deal, the Paris Climate Agreement, the UNESCO, the United Nations Human Rights Council, etc. It is clear that the Trump administration did not respect multilateralism and international agreements, so it decided to take unilateral actions to fulfil its own ambitions.
The unilateral practices that disregard the interests of other countries have not only caused slowdown in the development of world economy, but undermined the effectiveness of global governance based on the international law and centred on international organizations.
As President Xi rightly pointed out, “Differences in history, culture and social system should not be an excuse for antagonism or confrontation, but rather an incentive for cooperation.… History and reality have made it clear, time and again, that the misguided approach of antagonism and confrontation, be it in the form of cold war, hot war, trade war or tech war, would eventually hurt all countries’ interests and undermine everyone’s well-being.”
Clearly, the world we live in today is volatile, and the protectionist and confrontational policies pursued by some Western countries in trade, investment, politics, diplomacy, and people-to-people exchanges have violated the international law, reduced mutual trust among nations, and hampered international cooperation in various fields. The international community must unite to oppose protectionism, provocation of confrontations and any economic sanctions without the approval by the UN Security Council.
Thus, China strongly opposes double standard and the practice of applying international law in a selective way. Instead, it advocates equal rights, equal opportunities and equal rules for all countries, and upholds the common values of humanity, i.e. peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom.
These principles and values China has been promoting can help build consensus and forge a synergy in tackling global challenges, pursue peaceful coexistence among various countries based on mutual respect and on expanding common ground while shelving differences, facilitate exchanges and mutual learning among countries, and inject impetus into the progress of human civilization.
It should be recognized that with the growth of developing countries, global prosperity and stability will be put on a more solid footing, and developed countries will stand to benefit from such growth.
The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has once again proven that countries in the world are closely connected and share a common stake. Mankind cannot declare a true victory over the virus if there is still one country struggling against it.
The frequently heard calls for global cooperation during the recent WEF Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda were a vivid reflection of the broad consensus in the international community.
There is only one Earth and one shared future for humanity. Only by standing united and working together can people address the major tasks they are faced with, and the only way out for all countries is to safeguard and practice multilateralism and advance the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
George Muntu is a Dar es Salaam based writer