Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday reiterated China’s opposition to unilateral sanctions, such as those imposed on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine.
Xi said he opposed so-called “long-arm jurisdiction,” as practised by the US and its allies. US sanctions have also been imposed on Chinese officials, including the incoming chief executive of Hong Kong, John Lee.
China has repeatedly criticised western sanctions, including those against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, but has also been careful not to provide assistance to Moscow that could lead to sanctions being imposed on Beijing.
But Xi said “de-coupling” and pressure tactics such as cutting off of supply chains will not work.
During a video speech to the annual Boao Forum for Asia gathering on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, Xi also said that efforts are needed to stabilise global supply chains.
He maintained that China’s economy is resilient and that its long-term trend had not changed.
China’s economy is facing headwinds from the impact of its aggressive efforts to battle outbreaks of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, especially in its economic hub of Shanghai.
New Security Concept
President Xi also proposed a “global security initiative” that upholds the principle of “indivisible security” – a concept also endorsed by Russia, but he gave no details on how it would be implemented.
Xi said that the world should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, while paying attention to the “legitimate” security concerns of all.
“We should uphold the principle of indivisibility of security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, and oppose the building of national security on the basis of insecurity in other countries,” Xi told the gathering.
In talks over Ukraine, Russia has insisted that Western governments respect a 1999 agreement based on the principle of “indivisible security” that no country can strengthen its own security at the expense of others.
China and Russia have grown increasingly close, and China has refused to condemn Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation” to demilitarise the country. China has blamed the Ukraine crisis on NATO’s eastward expansion.
Analysts note that this is the first time China has argued for “indivisible security” outside the context of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, with implications on US actions in Asia.
“If China deems actions by [the] US and its allies on Taiwan or the South China Sea as disregarding its security concerns, it could evoke the concept of ‘indivisible security’ to claim the moral high ground in retaliation,” Li Mingjiang, an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said.
Wang Jiangyu, a law professor at the City University of Hong Kong, said by evoking the concept of “indivisible security”, which had originated from Europe, China could hope to make its actions in defence of its core interests appear more legitimate to other countries.
Xi said efforts are needed to stabilise global supply chains, but also said China’s economy is resilient and that its long-term trend had not changed.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell
Further details, on the security concept, were added to this report on April 21, 2022.