Right now, China is the only country in the world that can play a decisive, leading role in resisting conflict and crisis, Josef Gregory Mahoney, a professor of politics and international relations at Shanghai’s East China Normal University, said in an exclusive interview with Beijing Review on the sidelines of the Second Forum on Democracy: The Shared Human Values on March 23 in Beijing.
Elaborating on his reasons for being optimistic about China’s role in the peacemaking process, the professor said the Global Security Initiative (GSI) has helped restore diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran. He further emphasized that China’s role in restoring the Saudi-Iranian ties will benefit regional security.
First proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in April 2022 during the annual Boao Forum For Asia, a platform promoting the economic exchange, coordination and cooperation within Asia and between Asia and other parts of the world, the GSI intends to “uphold the principle of indivisible security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, and oppose the building of national security on the basis of insecurity in other countries.”
Earlier this month, after years of open hostility, Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to restore diplomatic ties after engaging in talks facilitated by China, a significant development for the two nations and a boon to security and stability in the Middle East.
Mahoney mentioned that China’s diplomatic policies stand in stark contrast to those of the U.S. China’s successful mediation in the Saudi-Iranian deal proves that the world is open to an order characterized by multilateralism championed by China, instead of the order characterized by unilateralism the U.S. has enforced over the past decades. “The deal’s success has reflected the different approaches adopted by the U.S. and China in the Middle East,” he said.
The professor also shared his optimistic views on China’s increased efforts and potential role in solving the ongoing Ukraine crisis, which entered its second year on February 24.
According to Mahoney, the world should not be distracted by the symptoms of the problem, but rather, should see the root cause. “It’s really about Western powers trying to control developing powers or trying to assert this old Cold War mentality,” he said. “Ukraine needs to resist absolute foolishness,” he added.
Regarding the ties between China and U.S., he said, “We know the U.S. launched and unprovoked trade war, is trying to cut China off from chips and has targeted TikTok unfairly,” he continued, “The U.S. is trying to kneecap Chinese development, destroy Chinese companies or force them into fire sales, the sales of goods at extremely discounted prices, and force manufacturing to move to the U.S. TikTok is today’s target. And there will be more [targets] to come.” What the U.S. is doing is ignoring the contradictions within its own borders and pretending not to see those problems. “The principal contradiction is that we have some who are trying to limit and control others—those trying to develop and reach their full potential,” Mahoney concluded.
Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon
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