China’s “Global Security Initiative” and the UN Dimension

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During a video speech to the annual Boao Asia Forum on April 21, 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a “Global Security Initiative” that supports the “indivisible security principle”, a concept endorsed by Russia.[1] Cinping, who did not give detailed information about the initiative, said that the world should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and that countries should pay attention to “legitimate” security problems. Cinping expressed these views on the basis of the “indivisible security principle” of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Because, with the Ukraine War, Putin once again reminded the “indivisible-holistic security principle”. In other words, he argues that security should be evaluated collectively. According to this thought; If the actions of one state threaten the security of others, it is a violation of the principle of indivisible security. Therefore, no state should strengthen its own security at the expense of others.

This principle was first brought to the agenda in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975. At this meeting, which laid the foundation of the OSCE, it was argued that the security of Europe should be considered as an indivisible whole. Nowadays, it is frequently mentioned by Russia. It even uses this principle as the main justification for the Ukraine War. According to Russia; NATO’s enlargement has begun to threaten its own security. Again, according to this idea, NATO is endangering Russia’s security at the expense of ensuring its own security. That is why Russia demands the withdrawal of NATO from Central and Eastern Europe. Since the 1990s, this principle has been Russia’s main argument against NATO.

This principle advocated by Russia necessitates that world security be considered as a whole. In fact, this idea is compatible with the “Sectoral Security” and “Regional Security Complex” theories. According to these theories put forward by theorists such as Barry Buzan and Ole Weaver, security should be divided into various sectors and regions. Each region’s security issues will be unique. For example, Europe’s security agendas are Russia and fundamentalism-radicalism, while Afghanistan-Pakistan’s security agendas are terrorism, human and drug trafficking. The war in Ukraine adversely affects the security in its immediate surroundings. The security of Europe, the Baltics, Scandinavia, the Black Sea and the Caucasus are the regions most affected by the crisis in Ukraine.

The rest of the world began to feel the economic costs of the war. In other words, security problems in one region can actually affect the security of the whole world. For example, the Ukraine Crisis has created major threats to energy and food security in the world. In other words, the Regional Security Complex theory loses its importance and validity. However, Chinese President Xi Jinping talks about the “Global Security Initiative”. Because the developments in Ukraine have started to directly affect the security of China. This is most felt in China’s military, commercial, energy and economic sectors. According to the aforementioned “Global Security Initiative” advocated by Russia and China, defense-security concepts such as NATO, QUAD and AUKUS, developed by the USA in accordance with the regional security understanding, endanger the security of the world. For example, NATO threatens the security of Russia. Because of this security risk, Russia attempted to invade Ukraine. QUAD and AUKUS pose a threat to China. Due to this increased security risk, Beijing’s attempt to invade Taiwan has started to take place more intensely on the agenda.

The “Global Security Initiative” advocated by Russia and China is also incompatible with their own security concepts, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), respectively. Because, starting from the “indivisible security principle” advocated by Russia, the CSTO and SCO will also create a security threat in the countries in their immediate vicinity. However, none of the countries around these organizations have attempted an attack-occupation, as Russia did in Ukraine, claiming that there is an increasing security risk for them. If Russia’s “principle of indivisible security” against the West were true, today Ukraine could have taken aggressive actions against its neighbor Belarus, expressing its dissatisfaction with the enlargement of the CSTO. Or Japan, similarly, could have taken military-security steps in its close vicinity by stating that it perceived a threat from the expansion of the SCO. In other words, while the security organizations established by Russia and China continue to expand, this issue has begun to be evaluated as a threat to the security of the world by other states. So, the regional security concepts of the West, NATO, QUAD and AUKUS, versus the regional security platforms of Russia and China, the CSTO and the SCO, lead to a “global security dilemma” that polarizes each other and causes a climbing race.

Chinese President Xi Jinping proposes to create a global security platform rather than the aforementioned regional security organizations. Because China is influenced by Russia’s theses against the West and the narrative it has built. Beijing considers defense alliances such as AUKUS to pose a threat to its security. Based on Russia’s actions, China may engage in acts of aggression in its immediate vicinity. Because Russia, while attacking Ukraine, cited the eastward expansion of NATO as the reason. In this context, China may justify the gradual expansion of formations such as QUAD and AUKUS when landing in Taiwan.

So, is the “Global Security Initiative” put forward by China applicable? How does this platform affect world security?

First of all, it is not possible to build a fair security architecture in the world as long as there is a veto system granted to the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Since Russia has veto power, it is not possible to take coercive measures under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter regarding its attack in Ukraine today. In other words, although there is a war that threatens world peace and security, the UN system cannot take the necessary decision to eliminate this danger. Similarly, it will still not be possible to activate the UN system if China attempts any aggression in its region in the near future.

There is no sufficient data about “Global Security Initiative” suggested by China yet. But there should be no veto system to ensure the security of the world. Equal voting rights must be granted to each member. All member states should have equal responsibility to protect the world’s security. For example, the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the member states can be accepted to take condemnation, sanctions or coercive measures regarding Russia’s attack on Ukraine. In other words, the responsibility of maintaining world peace and security should not be left to the Security Council, which consists of 15 members, 5 of which have veto power, as in the UN system. The newly developed “Global Security Initiative” should be submitted for signature by all states, just as it is done in the UN system, and the agreement should be binding for all member states. In order for this system to be successful, there should not be any “hegemon actor” on the platform in question, who has veto power and undertakes the duty of “big brother” in this sense.

For the last 20 years, China and Russia have been challenging the global system by claiming that the West no longer rules the world. In order to overthrow this system of Western hegemony, the UN system must first be revised or completely terminated. China’s “Global Security Initiative” proposal can be an alternative to the UN system. However, Western powers think that China and Russia are trying to build an “Eastern hegemony” in the world. Because the UN system creates a ground that will allow the Westerners to become the supreme-hegemonic power in the world. It can be said that Russia and China took action to change this order. In this sense, Beijing’s proposal, the “Global Security Initiative”, may become a much more discussed topic in the coming days.

[1] “China’s Xi Proposes ‘Global Security İnitiative’, Without Giving Details”, Reuters,, (Date of Accession: 22.04.2022).

Dr. Cenk TAMER
Dr. Cenk Tamer, 2014 yılında Sakarya Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Aynı yıl Gazi Üniversitesi Ortadoğu ve Afrika Çalışmaları Bilim Dalı’nda yüksek lisans eğitimine başlamıştır. 2016 yılında “1990 Sonrası İran’ın Irak Politikası” başlıklı teziyle master eğitimini tamamlayan Tamer, 2017 yılında ANKASAM’da Araştırma Asistanı olarak göreve başlamış ve aynı yıl Gazi Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Doktora Programı’na kabul edilmiştir. Uzmanlık alanları İran, Mezhepler, Tasavvuf, Mehdilik, Kimlik Siyaseti ve Asya-Pasifik olan ve iyi derecede İngilizce bilen Tamer, Gazi Üniversitesindeki doktora eğitimini “Sosyal İnşacılık Teorisi ve Güvenlikleştirme Yaklaşımı Çerçevesinde İran İslam Cumhuriyeti’nde Kimlik İnşası Süreci ve Mehdilik” adlı tez çalışmasıyla 2022 yılında tamamlamıştır. Şu anda ise ANKASAM’da Asya-Pasifik Uzmanı olarak görev almaktadır.