Earlier this month, the foreign ministers of China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran shook hands in Beijing, marking a historic moment in Riyadh-Tehran relations. The two countries' resumption of diplomatic ties under China's mediation signals the possibility that humanity can rise above conflict and achieve reconciliation for common good.
The historic thaw came almost a year after Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Security Initiative (GSI), which aims to eliminate the root causes of international conflicts, improve global security governance, encourage joint international efforts to bring more stability and certainty to a volatile and changing era, and promote durable peace and development in the world.
Dialogue matters, and it works
In the wake of the Riyadh-Tehran rapprochement, reconciliatory steps have taken place successively to break diplomatic impasses and end the long-running feud over several hotspots in the Middle East.
For example, Saudi Arabia is planning to invite Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to the Arab League Summit which will be hosted by Riyadh in May. Such a move would formally end Syria's isolation in the region. In addition, Qatar and Bahrain recently announced the resumption of formal diplomatic ties. Turkiye and Egypt also pledged to raise their relations to the ambassadorial level.
In addition to its involvement in traditional security matters, China has taken an active role in international cooperation in non-traditional security fields including counter-terrorism, digital governance, and climate change. Through providing a diverse range of public goods, it has made significant contributions towards addressing various security challenges.
For example, China is a significant contributor of troops and the second-largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping missions. And China has dispatched medical teams totaling 30,000 members to 76 countries and regions over the past six decades, providing 290 million diagnoses and treatments for local people.
The GSI guarantees true peace and security for the international community, said Najib al-Jubouri, a law professor at the al-Iraqia University in Iraq.
It is a laudable initiative that respects the sovereignty of every country, recognizes equality among all countries, abstains from external interference, and calls for the settlement of disputes through dialogue instead of war, he added.
"It is our common aspiration to achieve lasting world peace, so that all countries can enjoy a peaceful and stable external environment and their people can live a happy life with their rights fully guaranteed," the GSI concept paper said.
Security is a precondition for development, while development is a master key to addressing major problems. Regional analysts opined that surge of reconciliation in the Middle East is being driven not only by political and security concerns of the countries but also by their growing focus on development.
In a March piece published in the Ghanaian Times, Paul Frimpong, the founder and executive director of the Africa-China Centre for Policy & Advisory, said "it's safe to say that the GSI could and will become a catalyst for the world to chart a new path to building sustainable peace, stability and development."
Deeming China's commitment to world peace and stability "commendable," Dawie Roodt, a senior economist at South African wealth management company Efficient Group, said "the majority of people, I believe, will concur, need more economic development, peace, and stability in the world. Anyone who supports peace is unlikely to oppose this strategy, which the world desperately requires."
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(Video reporters: Jiang Xuelan, Nie Xiaoyang, Wang Feng, Wang Huan, Ali Jaswal; Video editors:Liang Wanshan, Li Qin, Huang Aiping, Zhang Yucheng, Zhang Qiru)