Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday proposed a ‘global security initiative’ that upholds the principle of ‘indivisible security’, a concept also endorsed by Russia, although he did not give details on how it would be implemented.
During a video speech at the annual Boao Forum for Asia, Xi said the world should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, while paying attention to the “legitimate” security concerns of all.
“We must uphold the principle of indivisibility of security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, and oppose the construction of national security on the basis of insecurity in other countries,” he said. Mr. Xi at a rally on the island of Hainan in southern China.
During the Ukraine talks, Russia insisted that Western governments respect a 1999 agreement based on the principle of “indivisible security” according to which no country can strengthen its own security at the expense of others. Read more
China and Russia have become increasingly close and China has refused to condemn Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation” to demilitarize the country. China has blamed the Ukraine crisis on NATO’s eastward expansion.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price, responding to a question about Xi’s speech during a regular briefing in Washington, said China continues to “parrot some of what we’ve heard coming from of the Kremlin”, including the concept of “indivisible security”.
Price reiterated that China would face serious consequences if it provided material support for Russia’s war effort in Ukraine, but that Washington had yet to see Beijing provide that kind of assistance to Moscow.
The United States will continue to uphold the rules-based international system it has built with like-minded partners and founded on respect for human rights, sovereignty and self-determination, Price said.
“We are committed to maintaining the different systems that some countries around the world – and Russia and the PRC are among them – seek to challenge and, in some cases, seek to demolish and even destroy,” he said, referring to the Republic of China.
Analysts note this is the first time China has argued for “indivisible security” outside the context of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, with implications for US stocks in Asia.
“If China considers that the actions of the United States and its allies in Taiwan or the South China Sea do not take into account its security concerns, it could invoke the concept of “indivisible security” to claim high morality in retaliation,” said Li Mingjiang, an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
China has repeatedly criticized Western sanctions, including those against Russia, but it has also been careful not to provide assistance to Moscow that could lead to the imposition of sanctions on Beijing.
Xi said efforts were needed to stabilize global supply chains, but also said China’s economy was resilient and its long-term trend had not changed.
Jude Blanchette, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said Xi’s speech was likely an attempt to project existing elements of Beijing’s foreign policy as solutions to current global instability.
“I don’t see how a new architecture could be built around this, so I think it’s more of an attempt to weave China’s worldview into the fabric of international security discourse,” Blanchette said.