China’s new Global Security Initiative signals an even more assertive foreign policy in the future

China’s new Global Security Initiative signals an even more assertive foreign policy in the future

Plus: Macron’s European Political Community has been more successful (so far) than one might think

Hi there Intriguer. The trailer for the latest Super Mario film recently dropped. For some reason, the Internet is outraged by Mario’s lack of uhm… derriere!? Viewers were also not thrilled by the choice to cast Chris Pratt as Mario’s voice, but we assume that’s a matter of preference.

Today’s briefing is a ~5.0 min read:

  • 🇨🇳 China’s Global Security Initiative: China’s vision for the future.
  • ➕ Plus: Malaysia heads towards early elections, Sri Lanka agrees to a downgrade, and Macron’s ‘European Political Community’ is more successful than expected.

China’s new Global Security Initiative

In brief:

  • In April 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled the Global Security Initiative as an alternative to the US-led world order.
  • It could mean that China will adopt an even more assertive foreign policy stance while exporting its brand of national security governance to receptive foreign countries.

Via Giphy

Xi’s been laying the ground work

We know you can barely contain your excitement, but there are still a few days left to wait before the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party kicks off this Sunday.

  • It is widely expected that President Xi Jinping with secure a third consecutive term in power during the Congress.

President Xi’s first two terms have largely been spent re-wiring China from the inside, with particular attention paid to reasserting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to the centre of China’s military, economic, and societal power.

But, according to a new article by Sheena Chestnut Greitens, the Director of the University of Texas’ Asia Policy Program, Xi’s next term in office will likely be spent looking outwards.

A breakdown of the ‘Global Security Initiative’

President Xi Jinping announced the ‘Global Security Initiative’ (GSI) back in April, but it has largely flown under the radar outside of China-watching circles. According to Chestnut Greitens, the GSI has ambitious aims:

“​​[It] directly challenges the role of U.S. alliances and partnerships in global security and seeks to revise global security governance to make it more compatible with the regime security interests of the Chinese Communist Party.” 

The GSI might best be thought of as an attempt to export China’s approach to national security.

In plain English, China wants other countries to behave more as it does, and it’s willing to help them do it.

Here’s what the GSI might include:

  1. 🥷 A more proactive approach to perceived threats: China’s foreign policy has become more assertive over the years, especially when it comes to ‘domestic-adjacent’ issues (e.g. the South China Sea). We might see a more robust approach in other policy areas (cough cough Taiwan), as well.
  2. 🚨 Police training: Law enforcement collaboration with China’s security forces is an attractive proposition for governments in countries prone to domestic unrest. Earlier this year, the Solomon Islands agreed to a security pact with China, which might see Chinese officers embedded within the Solomon Islands’ police force.
  3. 👀 Surveillance technology: Along the same lines, there is plenty of demand for China’s world-leading facial recognition and surveillance technology from governments around the world. If China can make money from exporting its technology while building closer security relationships, then, as the CCP likes to say, “that’s win-win”.

Dawn of a new era?

It will likely take years for China develop the GSI into a concrete foreign policy playbook.

We can expect China to sell the GSI as a better alternative to the current US-led world order. In reality, just like any country, China wants to use its geopolitical power to shape the international environment to its benefit, rather than purely for altruistic purposes.

Or, as Nadège Rolland, Senior Fellow at The National Bureau of Asian Research puts it,

“the Global Security Initiative is not about China providing for global security. It’s about providing security for (the Communist Party of) China in the world.”

China’s foreign policy direction will become more apparent after the 20th Party Congress, but if you’re waiting for China and the US to kiss and makeup, we suspect you’ll be sorely disappointed.

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Southeast Asia & the Pacific

🇦🇺 Australia

Treasurer Jim Chalmers believes that Australia will not enter a period of recession despite a downturn in the global economy.

  • In a statement made on Tuesday, the treasurer sought to calm the nerves of consumers and investors in advance of delivering the budget later this month.
  • Chalmers stated that Australia would not emerge unscathed if rich economies entered a period of crisis, but did not believe “the Australian economy will go backwards”.

🇲🇾 Malaysia

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has dissolved parliament and called for early elections in the hopes of securing a stronger mandate for his party.

  • The ruling ‘United Malays National Organisation’ party has come under fire as its top officials face prison sentences over graft and corruption charges.
  • Opposition figures have criticised the decision to bring on the vote, accusing the Prime Minister of attempting to undermine anti-corruption reforms.

🇸🇬 Singapore

  • The ruling was welcomed by the crypto company, which views Singapore as “a strategic market and a global hub for Web3 innovation”.
  • Overall, Singapore has taken a cautious but welcoming approach to cryptocurrencies.

🇱🇰 Sri Lanka

After an earlier bid by the Sri Lankan government to downgrade the nation’s status to ‘low-income‘, the country has decided to retain its status as ‘middle-income’.

  • The island nation has entered bailout and debt restructuring talks with the IMF and China, but will also seek funds from the World Bank.
  • Sri Lanka is going through its worst economic crisis since it gained its independence in 1948, with many now unable to afford basic necessities such as fuel and medicine.

🇵🇭 The Philippines

Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos Jr announced that his administration will focus on maximising the Philippines’ oil and gas potential during a speech earlier this week.

  • Marcos has pledged to lower energy costs and expand the energy sector by maintaining tax breaks for investors.
  • The Philippines has several proven oil reserves and relies on foreign investment to explore and exploit its in-land and sea basins.

Europe just got *another* political forum

When we say Europe has plenty of political communities we mean it. The members of the European Political Community are circled by the red line. Credits: Thu Nguyen via Twitter.

Club crazy: If there’s one thing Europeans love more than ABBA, it’s a club. Any kind of club.

  • Last week, the leaders of 44 European countries met in Prague to launch Macron’s new ‘European Political Community’ (EPC), a forum for the wider region to discuss areas of common interest.

Some context: In its simplest form, the EPC is intended to offer EU, non-EU, and European-adjacent countries a place to address regional issues without help or hindrance from the US and Russia.

  • The club currently has 44 members, including Turkey, the Western Balkans, and the UK.

Careful timing: Ideas to establish a more expansive European political forum have circulated for decades, but they had never led to anything concrete until now.

  • A belligerent and wounded Russia appears to have been the necessary kick in the pants Europe needed to prioritise strengthening solidarity over internal squabbles.

Not bad for a first try: For its first-ever iteration, the EPC proved more useful than many expected:

  1. Leaders agreed that the EPC was worth persevering with, and went on to set dates and locations for the next three summits.
  2. EPC countries helped get Armenia and Azerbaijan to agree to an EU mission to help settle their border dispute.
  3. In what was an important show of unity, every leader who had been invited had showed up. The only two countries missing were Belarus and Russia.

As analyst Mujtaba Rahman put it:

“Its principal creator, @EmmanuelMacron had reasons to be proud even though its long-term success remains open to doubt.”

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