No one country can ever be the sole maintainer of order
By Tao Zihui  ·  2022-12-22  ·   Source: Web Exclusive

As the world faces unprecedented challenges and humanity stands at new crossroads, the spirit of solidarity and the principle of consensus were highlighted again at the 17th Group of 20 Summit in Indonesia, and at the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Thailand.

Expressing full endorsement of international efforts to tackle global challenges with solidarity and cooperation and promote more inclusive global development, Rana Mitter, professor of the history and politics of modern China and director of the University of Oxford China Center, told Beijing Review that no one country can ever be the sole maintainer of order, and that countries are much more inclined to work together for stability of the international order.

“One of the things that is very central in the way that Chinese people think about order is that it should be order that is fair,” said Mitter, who will be a guest speaker at the upcoming seventh edition of the Understanding China Conference, an international forum for the world to understand China’s development. Chinese people have always wanted to balance order, and justice and freedom, he explained.

According to Mitter, the international order is being protected by a whole variety of countries coming together, and working out where there are areas for cooperation and collaboration. China, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations as a whole have to act together in these particular sets of issues.

Mitter used climate change as an example of the need for multilateral cooperation. “We have to be honest and acknowledge that if [climate change] is not addressed, then many of the other more bilateral issues between countries, which often trouble the global order, will actually seem very trivial in comparison,” he said.

“We’ve seen [desertification] in Australia, and a whole variety of countries around the world, and also the dangers of flooding, which means that smaller island nations are likely to find themselves in a very perilous situation,” he said, adding that “climate justice” is one of the areas where China along with the United States, the EU, India and other responsible nations will have to act together in a way that really does fulfill “the language and rhetoric of a common community.” In the historian’s view, China plays a significant role in solving global issues including climate change.

Commenting on cases where smaller countries find themselves stuck between larger powers, Mitter said it’s important for larger countries understand that global order is not something they give to other nations, but something other nations entrust to the large countries with the expectation of good behavior.

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson

Comments to taozihui@cicgamericas.com

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