Global South destined for greater unity, solidarity, shared prosperity
Published: Jan 23, 2024 10:23 PM
Illustration:Liu Xidan/Global Times

Illustration:Liu Xidan/Global Times

In early January of 2024, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is also a member of Communist Party of China Central Committee's Political Bureau, visited Egypt, Tunisia, Togo, Cote d'Ivoire, Brazil and Jamaica, all developing countries and good partners of China. The visits, once again, showed that Beijing has always stood together with the countries in the Global South, proactively advancing the process of multilateralism in global affairs and promoting the modernization cause of the Global South. 

Putting forward a four-point proposal on strengthening cooperation among the Global South nations in South Africa last year, Wang said that the voice and representation of the Global South countries need to be expanded to safeguard their common interests. He named political independence as the defining feature of the Global South countries, justice and fairness as their common proposition, and economic moderation as their common goal.

Seen across the landscape, the world is now faced with unprecedented challenges but also accelerated changes, and an important characteristic of these changes is the collective economic rise of the developing countries. China, an important member of the Global South, will continue to facilitate broader integration with other developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere to advance their modernization.

China and most countries of the Global South share similar historical experiences and journeys of struggle, and all of them had in the past 100 or so years emerged from the great cause of fighting against aggression, colonialism, plunder, hegemony, and power politics. Therefore, all Global South countries are naturally bound to stand for world justice, economic integrity and solidarity, and aim to build a better global governance system.

It is through those years of struggle and hard work, along with the evolving changes in this century, that the Global South has gradually "become an important force driving reforms in the world order and seeking political independence, national rejuvenation and international justice," said an essay written by Liu Jianchao, minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee.

Now, the world is embroidered in constant volatilities, skirmishes, clashes and hostilities. Some countries and military alignments have continued to bully others, killing innocent people and children, while imposing economic and technology sanctions to stymie the rise of other emerging economies such as China. Unilateralism and protectionism are rearing their ugly heads and attempts to build "small yards with high fences" to decouple from other economies, sever industry and supply chains, and even stoke bloc confrontation are rampant on the globe. 

To build a better world, and say no to some countries' reckless de-globalization attempts and power politics, the Global South countries should unite and join hands to face the headwind together, by resolutely embracing globalization, and integrating their economies while making the rules of globalization more reasonable and conditions more favorable. Yes, globalization has suffered some setbacks now, and the Global South countries have to make a choice to avoid being bullied and pushed around. 

As proposed by Liu, the Global South is the source of strength for global multi-polarity and now it has got an important opportunity to play a larger and more significant role on the world stage. 

And, countries of the Global South could uphold the principle of "planning together, building together and benefiting together", pressing ahead the Belt and Road cooperation to a new stage of high-quality development, injecting new momentum into their economic growth, while creating new opportunities for global development and building a new platform for international cooperation. Yes, the Global South countries could aim at setting a new type of globalization that involves more diversified players, with an effective platform that is more open, inclusive and beneficial for all participants.

In terms of land size, vitality and growth potential, the rise of the Global South is imperative and of great importance for the world. For many years, the voice of the Global South has been muted and their reasonable concerns have been neglected. The evolving trend shows the collective rise of the Global South is promoting greater democracy in international relations and helping reshape the global economic and political landscape. 

According to statistics, the land area of the Global South countries account for some 70 percent of the world's total, and these countries' combined population and contribution to world economy account for four fifths of the world's total. Working together to advance infrastructure and economic modernization and their peoples' living standard is what the Global South countries should unite and strive for. 

The narrative being trumpeted by some Western pundits suggesting "the weak will be weaker" is immoral, wicked and untenable. As many countries of the Global South were suppressed and exploited by colonizers and started to develop their economies relatively late with a weak foundation, these developing countries should unite and learn from each other to promote their modernization process. And, to realize modernization, the countries of the Global South should seek a path that best suits their respective national conditions. 

China is rooted in the Global South and it cares about the Global South. China has always stood in solidarity with other countries of the Global South, and has been an important player and true partner in South-South cooperation. So China has a lot to share with other developing countries and help them achieve modernization at the earliest date. 

As Liu noted in his article, the Global South should strengthen strategic communication and policy alignment, remove barriers and share resources, technology and experiences to build a modern and well-developed Global South market. "On the one hand, we should strengthen the Global South's synergy to defend our legitimate rights and interests by tightening the important mechanisms including BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the G77+China. On the other hand, we must stay away from zero-sum games and cold war mentality." 

By all metrics, the modernization and economic rise of the Global South is unstoppable and irreversible, and a prosperous, strong and united Global South will sustain global economic growth, environmental progress and help bring about a community of the Global South with a shared bright future. 

The author is an editor with the Global Times.