CHINA / DIPLOMACY
Real multilateralism is not playing with group politics, selective multilateralism: Wang Yi
Published: Mar 07, 2021 05:18 PM
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Photo: Xinhua



The real definition of multilateralism is respecting the UN Charter, promoting democratization of international relations, and not playing with group politics or selective multilateralism, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi emphasized on Sunday. 

Multilateralism has always been China's firm choice, which has never changed with the times or events. The solution for all problems and challenges in the world lies in true multilateralism, Wang said. 

China believes that true multilateralism means abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, safeguarding the international system with the UN at its core, and promoting the democratization of international relations.

Multilateralism must insist on openness and inclusiveness, not exclude others, and insist on equal consultation, not solipsism, Wang said, noting that China believes multilateralism should be a banner, not a disguise, and should be a belief, not just rhetoric.

Wang revealed that the so-called multilateralism within a small circle is merely group politics, and multilateralism with a principle of national priority is unilateral thinking. 

Selective multilateralism is also not true multilateralism, he stressed. 

China raising its own definition of multilateralism can be seen as a move aimed at defending or fighting for the right to define multilateralism in the international community. It is important to tell the world how we perceive and practice multilateralism and what our goal is, Xin Qiang, a deputy director of the Center for US Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

So-called "multilateralism within a certain group" and "selective multilateralism" is basically pseudo-multilateralism advocated by countries such as the US, which has been shouting about returning to multilateralism but is actually still sticking to unilateralism in nature, he said.

Contrary to the US, which regards multilateralism as a tool and leverage for itself to reshape its image as a global leader and creator of the international order, further serving its own "national interests first" policy, China is problems-oriented in promoting multilateralism, Sun Chenghao, an assistant research professor with the Institute of America Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Taking the fight against COVID-19 as an example, China has carried out vaccine cooperation with more than 10 countries, and more than 100,000 volunteers of more than 100 nationalities have participated in the drive. Seventeen Chinese vaccines have entered clinical trials, and more than 60 countries have authorized the use of Chinese vaccines.

China has joined the COVAX campaign led by the WHO and promised to provide the first batch of 10 million doses of vaccine to developing countries for urgent use. China has already provided free vaccine assistance to 69 developing countries in urgent need, while exporting vaccines to 43 countries according to Wang Yi.

Meanwhile, the US wrongly believes its rejoining of international organizations and its re-joining of hands with its allies is multilateralism, but its essence is just strategic competition of major powers, Sun said.

Biden has said in many of his speeches that the US' return to multilateral institutions aims to restore its leadership in international organizations, so that the US can regain its hegemony.

Biden's version of multilateralism may eventually intensify conflicts between the two countries, analysts said.

As for reform of the UN, Wang stressed that no matter how the international organization reforms, the Charter, the core position of the UN in the international system and the basic rules for equal consultation should not be changed. 

Fifty years ago, the 26th United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to restore the legal seat of the People's Republic of China.

The Chinese foreign minister said the international organization is not a club of major powers, nor is it a club of the rich, but a platform where all countries have equal sovereignty, and no country has the power to dominate international affairs.


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