全球安全倡议: 应对挑战的中国答案
Return to the Library

Global Security Initiative: China’s Answer to Challenges

全球安全倡议: 应对挑战的中国答案

The vice president of CICIR, a Ministry of State Security-affiliated IR think tank, argues that Beijing’s introduction of the Global Security Initiative (GSI) is timely amid “turmoil” in the international system. He identifies three strategies China should follow as it promotes the principles of the GSI, which Xi Jinping laid out at the 2022 Bo’ao Forum for Asia in April.

FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrintCopy Link
Original text
English text
See an error? Drop us a line at
View the translated and original text side-by-side

Challenges to Global Security


The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. The change of the century, changes in the world, and changes in history are unfolding on different levels. The COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world has accelerated these changes in breadth and depth. The Ukraine crisis triggered the traditional symptoms of great power conflict and has become the most recent manifestation of these changes. The free, open, cooperative, and prosperous world we have witnessed for nearly four decades seems to be fading away. Everything we are familiar with is subject to inevitable change, or we could say everything seems to suddenly jump into another picture, where the challenges facing humanity are presented as never before. Any single variable, whether the COVID-19 pandemic or the Ukrainian crisis, is only a new variable in the great changes unseen in a century. It is neither decisive nor the great change itself. These new variables have their own influence, but the superimposed influence of all these variables is far more profound and far-reaching, so much so that it poses a challenge to global security and global development.


First, the blocs and camps in world politics are becoming increasingly clear. At least at the level of major powers, the confrontational situation between the United States and the West and non-Western countries has already been revealed. This situation is less due to changes in world power, particularly the rise of China, than a result of the inherent thinking patterns of the West. The United States and the West insist on embroiling China and Russia, viewing them as “strategic competitors” and “revisionist countries.” Competition has replaced cooperation, and containment has replaced coordination. Although the situation is not completely hostile in nature, the confrontational tone is very clear and prominent. Although the practice is “cooperate when we should cooperate and confront when we should confront” (该合作的合作, 该对抗的对抗), the confrontation is comprehensive and in all areas, signaling a parting of the ways. The West came together to impose sanctions on Russia and expelled it from the SWIFT system. They are preparing digital trade agreements and Internet protocols that cover the Indo-Pacific region but exclude China and promoting a new Asia-Pacific economic framework that excludes China and Russia. Europe, Japan, South Korea, and Australia show an obvious penchant for grouping with the United States. The Democratic coalition roped together by the Biden administration may also become a normalized international platform, the goals of the “Indo-Pacific Strategy” are becoming further focused, and expansion may go further.


Second, the international power landscape has not changed, but the trend of the rise of the East and the decline of the West has slowed down. The current situation where the West is strong and the East is weak is hard to completely change in the short term. In the nearly 40 years from 1980 to 2018, the U.S. share of world GDP remained at around 25%. It could rise to around 32% in individual years such as 2000, but its overall share of the world’s GDP remained basically unchanged. Moreover, the gap between the United States and major powers such as Europe, Japan, and Russia is widening. Only China has narrowed its gap in economic size compared to the United States. The United States recently revised its statistical rules to include spending such as personal residential investment in its GDP, instantly increasing it by USD 1.5 trillion (equivalent to an economy close to the size of Russia). Emerging markets experienced a moment of collective rise, but their growth rates have slowed down in recent years. Since 2015, the size of the Russian economy under sanctions has shrunk further and the economies of South Africa and Brazil have declined sharply. The Russian economy may further contract this year and next, and China’s economic growth has slowed down. Only India is in relatively good condition. Since the global economic downturn in recent years is different from any previous one, and the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered the flow of factors, even if a stimulus policy is adopted, its effect is greatly reduced due to the constraints faced in its implementation. Moreover, the global spread of the pandemic has caused all countries to fall into a decline at the same time, so we lack the force of the rise of emerging economies that powered the recovery after the 2008 financial crisis. This outcome will slow down any potential changes to the global power landscape. Accounting for more than half of the global GDP calculated by market exchange rates, the West can maintain its dominant position in the global economy for some time.


Third, the foundation of the international order has been shaken and the global governance deficit has increased, leaving serious vacancies. The United Nations sees the maintenance of world peace and development as its mission, but in terms of security, it cannot stop conflicts or even wars launched by major powers, and it is even more difficult for it to eliminate the root causes of wars. Over the years, the United Nations has failed to constrain the drive of hegemons to start wars and could not prevent the crisis in Ukraine. In addition, while investigating the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations was subject to occasional coercion from hegemonic countries. In the face of increasing global challenges, it is hard for the UN to gather a consensus, its decision-making efficiency is low, and differences have become more pronounced in the context of the Ukraine crisis. The lack of progress in the reform of the United Nations itself and the further weakening of political trust among major powers have cast a shadow over the prospect of the United Nations’ ability to jointly address challenges to humanity. On the issue of development, the trade war has damaged the foundation of symbiosis and mutual benefit among countries, and the formation of cliquish “small circles” (小圈子) has hindered policies for the international flow of factors of production and arrangement for the international economic, trade, and financial order.


Finally, globalization has receded, liberalism has retreated, power politics have returned, and the global security situation has become more severe. Driven by globalization, decades of global development and prosperity have been achieved, and late-developing countries have seized the opportunity to develop and rise, relatively “eroding” the advantages of the West. Industrial outsourcing, wealth polarization, class antagonism, and other factors have provoked a wave of populism across Europe and North America, and anti-globalization, xenophobia, nationalism, unilateralism, and the supremacy of national interests have re-emerged. The “you lose, I win” zero-sum thinking and the “the strong eat the weak” law of the jungle are increasingly exposed. Liberalism has been replaced by realism, and this has even become the basic political demand in Western countries.


Under the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economies of various countries have further declined, and the economic expectations of the world and different countries have been repeatedly lowered. In addition, under the influence of the retreat of globalization, the difficult economic situation cannot be completely improved in the short term and the lives of people in all countries have become more difficult. The influence of the economic downturn has extended to the political and social fields, which means it is more likely that economic conflicts will evolve into social and political conflicts, or may even rise to the level of political conflicts. In all countries, the space for compromise with other countries will be further narrowed, and there will be a larger market for hard-line tendencies. Provocation and counter-provocation, repression and counter-repression, isolation and counter-isolation, sanctions and countersanctions, and deterrence and counter-deterrence between countries are being gradually manifested at different levels. Hegemonic countries adjust their military strategies, expand their military alliances, and strengthen their military machinery against other major powers, NATO may further encroach on areas outside its traditional regions, and the politicization and securitization of everything is ubiquitous. These trends all show that, given the prevalence of power politics, it is impossible to have a world with secure borders. It was once thought that war between major powers was unimaginable, but no major power has ever committed to renouncing the use of force. Moreover, with individual major powers using force to threaten or even invade other countries, history is repeating itself. Whether in the era of liberalism or in the era of realism, the threat of war never retreated, and various types of games that countries can engage in such as cyber warfare, financial warfare, trade warfare, and public opinion warfare have also intensified.


China’s Answer to Challenges


On July 6, 2021, President Xi Jinping, in his keynote speech at the CCP and World Political Party Summit, stated: “Today, human society is once again at a crossroads in history. Will it be hostile confrontation or mutual respect? Will it be closed-off decoupling or open cooperation? Will it be zero-sum games or mutual benefit? This choice rests on our shoulders.” At a moment when human security is at stake, President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at this year’s Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference. In order to promote the common security of the world, he systematically proposed a global security initiative with the “Six Commitments, ” such as “staying committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security and jointly maintaining world peace and security,” as the main points. This is a brand-new initiative presented to the world following the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind and the Global Development Initiative. It is also a targeted initiative proposed under the conditions of complex changes in the international situation and the overlapping of various security challenges. It is related to the future stability, peace, and development of the world and demonstrates the feelings for humanity, global responsibility, and international responsibility of a rising power.


The international situation is in a time of turmoil, and the implementation of the Global Security Initiative is even more urgent and imperative. China is vigorously advocating the Global Security Initiative and promoting its better implementation at the global level. It must maintain sufficient strategic clear-headedness, be familiar with and master unusual international exchanges and ways of doing things, and calmly respond to a variety of increasingly complex challenges.


First, we must maintain the independence of national image and policies. Since its founding, New China has been respected by the world as a major power. This is because it is a major power that takes an independent stand and can play a special role in international affairs. At a time when some major powers are seeing a rise in the tendencies of unilateralism, selfishness, profit-seeking, and nationalism, China has risen in the world as an independent force. First, as a powerful force for peace and development, it is even more valuable and important. If China’s strength grows by one point, the forces of peace will increase by one point, and the impetus for development will also increase by one point. We need to develop regional or international multilateral mechanisms that consolidate cooperation, openness, inclusivity, reciprocity, and mutual support and fly the flag of unequivocal opposition to group politics as our basic stance in the face of a world being divided into blocs and camps. China does not conform to, avoid, or worry about confrontational competition. We insist on strategic confidence and face up to the unavoidable competitive nature among countries. At the same time, we seek to engage in constructive exchanges with the United States and Western countries as far as possible. In the face of confrontational political or military “small circles,” we must make efforts to develop and deepen cooperation in areas of overlapping interests.


Second, we must coordinate development and security. The future international economic environment may be very different from that of the past. Globalization is retreating, the risk of geopolitical games is rising, there is a significant trend of some countries “decoupling” and “breaking ties” with China, and the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound and far-reaching impact on the global economy. While saying goodbye to the era of surging globalization, we must correctly deal with the aftermath and eliminate the problems it leaves behind, while simultaneously striving to promote a new type of globalization. We must continue to advocate multilateralism, jointly promote cooperation in global development, and prevent the economic difficulties of developing countries from becoming social and security issues. Development is the premise, but security is the guarantee. Without security, development is nullified. Therefore, we must seek secure development, closely intertwine development and security, strengthen risk awareness and bottom-line thinking, actively anticipate risks, and strive to resolve them.


Third, we must give priority to operations in neighboring countries [周边] and make strategic spatial reliance stronger and more robust. From the perspective of industrial chain security, although the unlimited extension of the industrial chain can dilute production costs, this makes it difficult to resolve the dangers related to industrial security and even national security. Therefore, neighboring countries should become an important area for chain supplementing and chain building. We must truly make our neighboring countries the outer edge of the internal circulation and the frontier of external circulation. In the process of unifying the large domestic market, we must strive to align with neighboring countries, expand imports from neighboring countries, increase investment in neighboring countries, and enhance the radiation of China’s geo-economic influence. We must allow the fruits of China’s economic growth to benefit neighboring countries in a more in-depth, numerous, and wide-ranging manner and promote the building of a community with a shared future for neighboring countries.


To top

Cite This Page

傅梦孜 (Fu Mengzi). "Global Security Initiative: China's Answer to Challenges [全球安全倡议: 应对挑战的中国答案]". CSIS Interpret: China, original work published in China Foundation for International Studies [中国国际问题研究基金会], September 6, 2022

FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrintCopy Link