How China’s ‘non-interference policy’ supports global peace
The world has certainly not been at peace. While bigger chunks of the globe are in relative peace, some parts of Africa, Europe, and even Asia have been sucked into turmoil. The Russo-Ukrainian war that has been going for close to a year now has held the world at ransom, and there is still a lot to be done for the realisation of peace.
However, China, as a mojor country in the world, has been using her status to consolidate peace through various diplomatic means.
Among notable Chinese peace mechanisms is the current approach through development projects and peace missions in various countries around the world, primarily in Africa.
On the African continent, several countries have benefited from Chinese post-conflict reconstruction assistance. They include South Sudan, Angola, Cameroon, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sudan, and Zimbabwe, among others.
It is the efficacy of this approach that has earned China many trading partners, especially on the African continent. Chinese policies like debt cancellation, zero-interest loans, infrastructure reconstruction, and public service provision have worked magic, and currently, many countries are embracing the “look east policy” to benefit from this mutual relationship.
China has also offered options to boost employment in its wide array of post-conflict reconstruction methodologies. Fragile conditions of peace and security, however, pose significant risks to Chinese engagement in these areas, despite the massive support from Beijing.
Speaking during the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, assured the world of his proactive strategies of opening trade and international cooperation as a dividend to global peace.
Xi’s big promise
“We have worked to build a globally oriented network of high-standard free trade areas and accelerated the development of pilot free trade zones and the Hainan Free Trade Port. “As a collaborative endeavour, the Belt and Road Initiative has been welcomed by the international community both as a public good and a cooperation platform,” Xi noted.
Xi noted that China has become a major trading partner to more than 140 countries, and Beijing currently leads the world in total volume of trade in goods, and also as a major destination for global investment and a leading country in outbound investment.
“Through these efforts, we have advanced a broader agenda of opening up across more areas and in greater depth,” he stated.
Beijing’s support has been unwavering for South Sudan in the post-conflict reconstruction phase.
Speaking during the unification of the necessary unified forces in Malakal, Upper Nile State, Chinese ambassador to South Sudan Ma Qiang, reiterated China’s support for South Sudan’s peace processes.
“As a reliable friend of South Sudan, China stands ready to work with the international community to make more contributions to promoting the peace process in South Sudan, and firmly believes that after enduring all the hardships, the government and people of South Sudan will be able to embark on a new journey towards peace and development,” the diplomat assured.
His assuring speech came after the Chinese embassy launched the “My Peace” campaign with a theme “report project aimed at disseminating peace messages and encouraging mass participation” with the support of the Ministry of Peace Building, among other developments. The campaign began in May 2022 with the goal of preaching peace messages in war-torn areas of the country.
China, being one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, has taken concrete actions to safeguard world peace by being the largest troop-contributing country among the UN Security Council members. China has contributed about 50,000 service members to 25 UN peacekeeping missions since the 1990s.
Currently, the world is closely watching China’s response to the Taiwan question and the current Russia-Ukraine war. In this regard, China, has sought a multipolar world rather than hegemony, and seeks relations with other countries, as manifested by President Xi’s speech.
President Xi stated that in order to fight separatism and counter interference, China was demonstrating its ability to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and to oppose “Taiwan independence.” Beijing considered a better approach that would de-escalate tension.
“We have strengthened our strategic initiative for China’s complete reunification and consolidated our commitment to the one-China principle within the international community,” he added.
On the Ukraine issue, President Xi had tabled four “musts” ( the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter must be fully observed, the legitimate security concerns of all countries must be taken seriously, and all efforts that are conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis must be supported) to diffuse the tension and nail a truce button.
On April 29, 2022, Xinhua published a commentary titled “China’s stance on Ukraine serves the world’s fundamental interests,” which noted that “China has always adopted an objective and impartial attitude and stood for peace and justice” over the matter.
The commentary partly read, “Chinese President Xi has since held dialogues via phone with leaders of many countries, reiterating the need for political courage to create space for peace and leave room for political settlement, and encouraging the two sides to overcome difficulties, keep the talks going and bring about peaceful outcomes.”
Big potential in approach
In the report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC, Xi said, “China remains firm in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace. It has always decided its position and policy on issues based on their own merits, and it has strived to uphold the basic norms governing international relations and safeguard international fairness and justice. “
“China respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries… and it respects the development paths and social systems independently chosen by all the world’s peoples”, Xi added, “China’s development strengthens the world’s forces for peace. “
China’s strides in addressing global peace can be traced to how the government handles issues on its territory by upholding and improving the systems for implementing the One Country, Two Systems policy. For instance, President Xi’s government brought order to Hong Kong with “Patriots Administering Hong Kong” principle to bring about peace.
“The Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was formulated and put into effect, ensuring that Hong Kong is administered by patriots,” the President stated.
He said that due to these moves, order has been restored in Hong Kong, marking a major turn for the betterment of the region.
“Further headway has been made in developing the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and supporting Hong Kong and Macao in growing their economies, improving living standards, and maintaining stability.”
As a result, in the past decade, China’s GDP has grown from 54 trillion yuan to 114 trillion yuan, accounting for 18.5 percent of the world economy, an increase of 7.2 percentage points. China has remained the world’s second largest economy, and its per capita GDP has risen from 39,800 yuan to 81,000 yuan.
Peter van Tuijl and Jan van Dorp of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) argue in their 2016 report that China’s increasing efforts to contribute to international peace and security should be seen as an opportunity rather than a threat.
“In the changing geopolitical security environment, established and emerging powers alike ought to develop frameworks for cooperation that can mitigate the tensions associated with new power dynamics. “By doing so, the international community can foster the successful integration of emerging powers in the management of post-conflict and transitional settings and the prevention of future violence,” the report noted.
“As a reliable friend of South Sudan, China stands ready to work with the international community to make more contributions to promoting the peace process in South Sudan, and firmly believes that after enduring all the hardships, the government and people of South Sudan will be able to embark on a new journey towards peace and development.”- Ma Qiang (Chinese ambassador to South Sudan)
“As a collaborative endeavour, the Belt and Road Initiative has been welcomed by the international community both as a public good and a cooperation platform.”- President Xi Jinping
Facts on China’s development assistance