Boao speech seen as boost for global peace

Boao speech seen as boost for global peace

President highlights need of people worldwide for ‘justice, not hegemony’

The world can take heart from President Xi Jinping’s speech on Tuesday to the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021, in which he offered assurances and optimism for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world order, analysts said.

Xi’s speech was “in consonance with the principles of global governance and multilateralism”, said Karori Singh, emeritus fellow and former director of the South Asia Studies Centre at the University of Rajasthan in India.

In his keynote speech via video link at the opening ceremony of the forum in Boao, Hainan province, Xi said that “the future of the world should be decided by all countries working together. … What we need in today’s world is justice, not hegemony.”

By highlighting China’s contribution and enunciating the Chinese approach, Xi has assured all the participants of China’s endeavor to overcome any deficits in governance, trust, development and peace through greater solidarity and global governance on the basis of equality and inclusiveness, Singh said.

Xi has emphasized partnership in health cooperation, connectivity, green development, openness and inclusiveness.

“Such a partnership on the basis of basic principles of international relations will certainly yield the desired results for realizing the goal of shared prosperity and a judicious world order,” Singh said.

He added that by setting specific goals and charting pathways for their realization, Xi emphasized multilevel partnership in different aspects for achieving green development. “Hence, it is imperative that the nation states must strive together for shared prosperity and a common future for humankind,” Singh said.

In the speech, Xi said the principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual trust must be put front and center in state-to-state relations.

Li Wei, a lecturer at the University of Sydney Business School, said:”As a growing power, China is not pursuing a strategy to be the sole rule setter in international initiatives. Instead, China will resort to multilateral mechanisms, built upon cooperation and consensus.”

“Road open to all”

Li said it is interesting that Xi referred to the Belt and Road Initiative as “a public road open to all” since it highlights the public right to access BRI projects. “These projects will be accessible by people and firms locally and internationally, instead of just from China,” she said.

Christopher Bovis, a professor of international business law at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom, also stressed the importance of China’s commitments to multilateralism.

“China is adhering to multilateralism as a governance system in an open access world trade system free of tariff restrictions and nontariff barriers for production, consumption and investment. Priority actions will focus on climate, harmonious relations, health and diversity, and development recovery in a post-pandemic era,” he said.

“The main driver of China’s commitments is the Belt and Road Initiative, which epitomizes the strategic and operational blueprint to economic growth and international relations,” said Bovis.

Irfan Shahzad Takalvi, founding president of the Eurasian Century Institute, a think tank based in Islamabad, said the BRI is “the single largest hope of harmonious and broad-based development for the entire humanity in the prevailing global context”.

The BRI is instrumental in ensuring that globalization is about the equal flow of goods and services between East and West, and between the developing “Global South” and developed “Global North,” and “this is the way forward for a rule-based, fair and free global system”, he said.

Moreover, Takalvi said,”Xi’s message is very loud that the world-particularly its underprivileged populations-are yearning to work together, to join hands for mutually win-win development and progress.

“In the prevailing global context, where some of the major powers of the world are continuously moving toward protectionism and fanning conflicts, Xi’s reassurance of the continuity of global-level cooperation and further enhancing it is a ray of hope for billions of people of the world,” he added.

Aaron Jed Rabena, a research fellow at Asia-Pacific Pathways to Progress, a foreign policy think tank in Manila, said: “The message of President Xi’s speech is that China remains committed to opening itself and providing public goods to the world, let alone that there are threats for global supply chains to be realigned and that there is an intensifying great power politics.”

Jan Yumul in Hong Kong contributed to this story.

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