​China stands firm as world's stabilizing force
By George N. Tzogopoulos  ·  2024-02-23  ·   Source: China.org.cn


Foreign Minister Wang Yi gives the keynote speech during the "China in the World" session at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on February 17, 2024. (mfa.gov.cn)

The Munich Security Conference (MSC) is a prestigious international forum where critical questions of world affairs are debated annually. China is thus interested in sending high-level delegations to take part in the discussions. This year, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi traveled to the city of Munich and participated in a special session on "China in the World" that was chaired by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, chairman of the MSC since 2022.

The current Western sentiment about world affairs is rather pessimistic. This year's MSC was synthesized around this issue, with the term "lose-lose" reflecting the current skepticism in the West about the direction of the world. The skepticism is connected to the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, as prospects for lasting peace agreements appear grim in both cases.

Against this backdrop, Wang endeavored to share China's position with the Western audience. His speech outlined China's thinking in relation to several different themes, including the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East. Central to this was the argument that China looks at both the symptoms of conflicts as well as at their roots. The Chinese foreign minister, for instance, embarked on a dual analysis of the deadlock in the Middle East. On the one hand, he emphasized that the humanitarian plight of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has to be solved. And on the other, he added that the lack of a resolution for the Palestinian question fuels a new round of instability that is being played out in the Red Sea.

Wang also meticulously discussed the Sino-Russian partnership. He said that Russia is China's largest neighboring country, and the stable growth of bilateral ties between China and Russia serves the common interests of both sides and has a positive impact on the strategic stability of the Asia-Pacific and the globe. On the Ukraine crisis, Wang reiterated the importance of peace talks, saying, "There is only one goal that China hopes to achieve, that is, to build consensus for ending the conflict and paving the way for peace talks."

Wang's participation in the 60th Munich Security Conference signaled the need for greater international cooperation. Mounting challenges make this need imperative, with climate change, artificial intelligence, space and the polar regions having been added to the traditional ones. While Sino-American consultations in the context of the San Francisco vision matter the most, collaboration between China and Europe is vital to inject stability into the international system. Just as Wang underlined in his speech: "A more stable and closer relationship between China and Europe not only works to the advantage of both sides, but also brings benefits to the whole world." In this regard, his attendance of the forum was paired with several meetings, such as with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba among others.

However, evoking the need for international cooperation does not guarantee success in the process. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in his speech at the opening of the MSC, stated that the global community is more fragmented and divided than at any time during the past 75 years. China proposed its "win-win" concept in international relations, with Wang expressing the hope in his concluding remarks for all countries to seek "win-win" and avoid "lose-lose" situations. China's contribution to such an outcome will be crucial. The work that needs to be done is arduous, while the international environment is particularly complex. As Guterres outlined: "If countries fulfilled their obligations under the U.N. Charter, every person on earth would live in peace and dignity." China supports the U.N. in holding the Summit of the Future this year to explore solutions. Hopefully, this opportunity will not be missed.

George N. Tzogopoulos is a columnist with China.org.cn. 

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