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Global South cooperation mechanisms that are completely different from that of the Western alliance have been formed and are becoming increasingly influential

By WANG YOUMING | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-04-24 08:00
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Since the beginning of the 21st century, new problems and trends have arisen in the West-monopolized international system and order.

On the one hand, the international order is showing increasingly prominent "failure and imbalance". The influence of Global South countries in the international governance system is disproportionate to their collective rise. The widening imbalance has led to stagnation in the operation of various systems of global governance. The developed countries, led by the United States, have reacted by hindering reform of the financial institutions and the World Trade Organization, which has impeded a global economic recovery.

At the same time, the US and its allies have instigated geopolitical conflicts and turmoil. The international institutions dominated by them show gradually declining ability, or even no ability, to solve traditional security challenges. The governance model of Western power and hegemony is far from the ideal pattern that should be based on the United Nations Charter and its purposes. Global governance institutions urgently need to be reformed to enhance their effectiveness in resolving conflicts and disputes.

On the other hand, a new trend of "two parallel systems" is emerging in the international system. After the Joe Biden administration took office, the US revived its alliance system in a bid to build a new international order in which the West continues to rule the world. As a result, the once dormant G7 emerged, and a new mechanism, the Australia-United Kingdom-US (AUKUS) trilateral security partnership, was established. In the process of constructing this system, the US has gone beyond its traditional alliances with the Anglo-Saxon nation states and developed industrial countries such as France, Germany and Japan, to include emerging countries such as India. As a result, a series of mechanisms such as the quadrilateral security dialogue (the Quad) among the US, Japan, India and Australia, the "Indo-Pacific" Economic Framework for Prosperity and the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor have been launched. At present, the enhanced alliance cooperation mechanisms of the US, which encompass politics, economy and security, are forming a closed, exclusive and confrontational global system based on ideological values, Western regulations, and power status.

Meanwhile, some cooperation mechanisms that are completely different from the Western alliance system have emerged and are becoming increasingly influential. They are emerging mechanisms represented by the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. These mechanisms' participants and executors are mainly Global South countries. They cooperate and complement each other in the reconstruction of the global industrial and value chains, and are seeking self-improvement together. They have also expanded from narrow economic cooperation to political, security, cultural and other fields, thus developing into comprehensive mechanisms.

Specifically, Global South countries are vying to join the BRICS mechanism and gradually becoming emerging forces driving the international order toward justice, greater fairness, rationality and inclusiveness.

Currently, the BRICS mechanism has established two major institutions. One is the New Development Bank. As the first multilateral financial institution established and controlled by developing countries, it has offered $32 billion in loans to support infrastructure and sustainable development projects urgently needed by its member countries. In particular, the $10 billion emergency allocation during the COVID-19 pandemic left some Western monopolistic financial institutions out of reach, a move that attracted many countries in the Global South to "line up" to join the New Development Bank. The other institution is the BRICS Innovation Base in Xiamen, Fujian province. Since its establishment two years ago, the base has focused on talent training, policy coordination, and project research and development against the background of the new technological revolution. With the support of the Chinese government, it has also held various activities, becoming another new calling card of BRICS after the NDB.

Besides, the BRICS countries' achievement in reforming the quota system of the International Monetary Fund in 2010 has produced a strong demonstrative effect. In this round of reform, nearly 6 percent of the share has been transferred to emerging countries and underrepresented developing countries. China, Russia, Brazil, and India have increased their representation and share and entered the top 10 list.

In fact, the Global South countries are pursuing economic growth and national rejuvenation in the post-pandemic era, rather than following the US and the West to engage in rampant bloc politics and camp confrontation. Their strategic autonomy is conducive to making the global governance system fairer, more effective and balanced.

China is an ex officio member of the Global South. As China is speeding up its pace on the Chinese path to modernization, the China-proposed concept about international order featuring democratization of international relations, economic globalization, and multi-level international pattern has been fully recognized by the Global South countries. Its concepts — a community with a shared future for mankind, the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, and the Global Civilization Initiative — have also been widely welcomed. Some visions have been written into United Nations documents; especially the successful practice of the Belt and Road Initiative has been recognized by most countries of the Global South. The series of concepts and practices proposed by China in its modernization efforts represent one of the directions for future changes in the international order and system.

China can take the advantage of the BRI to expand the areas of cooperation, tap the potential for cooperation, and utilize the opportunity of developing countries' gradual recognition of China's three major global initiatives on development, security and civilization to build a fair and equitable international order with developing countries.

China will work with Global South countries around the world to make development a central task in the post-pandemic era, build a new global governance paradigm of consultation, co-construction, and sharing, and promote the establishment of an international system that is in line with the characteristics of the times and reflects shifts in the world's power balance.

The author is a researcher at and director of the Department for Developing Countries Studies at the China Institute of International Studies. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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