Riding the Tide of History: Working Together to Boost Solidarity and Cooperation Among the Global South

Liu Jianchao, Qiushi Journal, July 8, 2024 — 

Attaching great importance to solidar­ity and cooperation with countries of the Global South, President Xi Jinping has declared that as a developing country and a member of the Global South, China will always breathe the same breath as other developing countries and pursue a shared future with them. His stance has garnered a positive response and widespread support from other developing nations. In line with the contemporary trend of the Global South seeking strength through unity, China will work to reinforce solidarity and cooperation within this group in a bid to promote shared development and prosperity. Doing so will enable China to make more positive contri­butions to the global concerted efforts to create a brighter future.

I. New missions for the Global South in the new era

Much more than a purely geographical or economic term, the Global South embod­ies the identity of a community of emerg­ing markets and developing countries (EMDCs) that share similar historical experiences, development stages and goals, and political pursuits. In recent years, amid profound adjustments to the global politi­cal and economic landscape, an increasingly stronger Global South has been playing a more and more important and constructive role in advancing the evolution of the inter­national order.

A key engine for a new form of globalization that is inclusive and universally beneficial

In the face of a backlash against economic globalization, the Global South has worked to champion this trend and has pursued development and cooperation on the basis of openness and inclusivity. Collaborat­ing across more sectors, in greater depth, and with more intensity than ever before, the group has sought to advance sustain­able development and worked to integrate itself into the global economic development landscape. In the process, it has become the main driver of global economic growth. Over the past 20 years, the Global South has contributed as much as 80% of global economic growth, while its share of global GDP has jumped from 24% to more than 40% over the past four decades.

At the same time, however, amid the rising clamor around “small yards and high fences,” “decoupling and delinking,” and bloc confrontation, the reality is that devel­opment issues have been politicized and pushed to the margins. In response to these unilateral, protectionist, and populist moves that impede international cooperation, the Global South has jointly called for greater international attention to development issues, pressed for the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Devel­opment, and actively engaged in cooperation in international development. These efforts have helped safeguard economic globalization and make it more open, inclu­sive, balanced, and universally beneficial.


The opening ceremony of the Global South Think Tanks Dialogue, which was held on November 2, 2023, in Xiamen, Fujian Province, under the theme of “Global South: Working Together to Advance Modernization.” The meeting was attended by more than 300 participants, including think tank scholars, political party representatives, and businessmen from over 50 emerging markets and developing countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa, along with those representing Chinese universities and think tanks. INTERNATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF THE CPC CENTRAL COMMITTEE

A strong pillar for an equal and orderly multipolar world

Recent years have seen the collective rise of the Global South. Through closer collaboration on the multilateral stage, this group has generated a powerful synergy for pursuing cooperation and seeking strength through unity. Emerging as an independent political force in the international commu­nity, it has helped bring greater equilibrium to the international balance of power. With the historic expansion of the BRICS cooperation mechanism, new headway made by the Shanghai Cooperation Organi­zation (SCO), a strong voice emerging from the G77+China Summit in Havana, and the reconvening of the South Summit after nearly two decades, the Global South has become a much more influential force on the international stage and is providing fresh vitality for a world evolving toward multipolarity.

Most notably, the members of the Global South hold a diverse range of values and beliefs. They have no truck with bloc division and confrontation and insist that all countries should be treated as equals regard­less of their size. This refreshing perspec­tive on how international affairs should be handled has provided powerful impetus for steady and constructive progress toward a multipolar world. With the collective rise of EMDCs reshaping the international politi­cal landscape, the Global South has become the most dynamic force behind the shift toward multipolarity.

A positive force for more democratic international relations

Over the years, the voices of developing countries have been muted on the world stage, with their reasonable concerns left unaddressed. In stark contrast, a small number of traditional powers have demon­strated astonishing arrogance in global affairs by monopolizing the right to set international agendas and rules. Their hegemonic and domineering practices have disrupted the normal international order, undermined international justice and fairness, and obstructed progress toward more democratic international relations. Under the new circumstances, an increasing number of developing countries have come to recognize the ideological and institutional shackles imposed on them by imperi­alism and colonialism. They have united in their opposition to hegemonism and power politics and are more determined than ever to seek strategic autonomy, adopt their own stance, and defend their legitimate rights and interests. There have also been public calls from prominent political figures of the Global South for its members to work toward shaping a more just and equitable international order.

In response, under the banner of anti-hegemony and non-interference, Global South countries have joined hands to engage in true multilateralism and play a more active part in international affairs in a bid to gain a greater say. By displaying a more significant role on global govern­ance platforms such as the UN and G20, the group has achieved noteworthy accom­plishments in defending its interests in areas such as global economic governance and climate response. These actions by the Global South have promoted greater democracy in international relations and provided stronger impetus for the reform of the global governance system.

II. China, an ex-officio member of the Global South, will always stand in solidarity with its fellow countries

Deeply rooted in the Global South, China is an integral part of this commu­nity and has a keen affection for it. This inherent emotional bond and the exten­sive interests we share form the solid foundation underpinning our unbreakable relationship. Regardless of how the inter­national landscape may change, China will always stand firmly with countries of the Global South.

Having endured similar historical experiences and struggles, China and Global South countries share the defining political trait of independence

As President Xi has remarked, many EMDCs have become what they are today after shaking off the yoke of colonialism. Having endured countless hardships with great perseverance and sacrifice, countries of the Global South won their independ­ence before launching tireless explorations to identify development paths suited to their national conditions. In their quest for national independence and liberation, these countries rendered invaluable support to one another. Shared historical memories and struggles have helped forge even closer ties between China and Global South countries. Cherishing this genuine and enduring friendship borne out in times of adversity, China and Global South countries have always stood together, ensuring assistance for each other. China is committed to speak­ing up for these countries and resolutely champions their legitimate rights and interests. Whether in the past, the present, or the future, China has and always will stand as a trustworthy and reliable partner of Global South countries, firmly supporting the just fight for their sovereignty, security, and development interests.

Facing similar development challenges and tasks, China and Global South countries shoulder the same historic mission of national rejuvenation

For a long time, China and Global South countries were at a disadvantage in the international distribution of economic interests, which caused them to fall behind economically. Even today, there are still unfair and unreasonable practices in the international political and economic system that have yet to be properly addressed; the right to set international agendas and rules remains in the hands of a few developed countries. As a result, development imbal­ances and inadequacies persist; the Global South is finding it more difficult to realize development, and it is becoming harder to catch up with developed countries. At the same time, due to multiple factors includ­ing geopolitical conflicts and the global pandemic, the international community has shifted its attention toward security matters, pushing development issues of concern to the Global South to the margins of the global agenda. Worse still, a few devel­oped countries, driven by self-interest, are politicizing economic issues, intentionally causing international economic and trade disputes and sabotaging the multilateral trading system. This has further jeopardized the development interests of Global South countries.

In light of this, President Xi has stressed that we in China are not pursuing moderni­zation for ourselves alone, but hope to join with all developing countries and other nations to collectively advance moderniza­tion. In following this principle, on the one hand, China has worked with Global South countries to forge a modern Global South on the basis of mutual support and the respec­tive strengths of all sides. On the other hand, in response to the pressing concerns of Global South countries, China has on numerous occasions called for development issues to be returned to the center of the international agenda and for implementa­tion of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to be accelerated.

Sharing similar positions on international affairs, China and Global South countries jointly advocate fairness and justice

With global change on a scale unseen in a century picking up pace and risks and challenges emerging in a constant stream, the awakening of Global South countries is gathering momentum. Amid growing dissatisfaction with the so-called “rules-based international order” championed and touted by Western countries, there is an increasing sense of urgency among the Global South to change this unequal inter­national order and uphold international fairness and justice. Time and again, Presi­dent Xi has appealed for true multilateral­ism and a more just and equitable interna­tional order. He has also affirmed China’s full support for increasing the representa­tion and say of developing countries in the international governance system, declaring that “China’s vote in the United Nations will always belong to developing countries.”

Keeping the collective needs of Global South countries in mind, China works to firmly safeguard their common interests by pushing for the reform of the global governance system. It strives to foster an enabling environment for inclusive growth that benefits all, to ensure Global South countries can share in develop­ment opportunities and outcomes, thereby supporting them in building up their capacity to become more influential players in international affairs. China also firmly supports their independent explo­rations for development paths tailored to their national realities and is united with them in opposing external interference and attempts by external forces to hold back the modernization process of the Global South under any pretext.

III. Working together to deliver a brighter future for our world

In today’s turbulent and changing world fraught with frequent conflicts and escalat­ing tensions, the Global South must seek strength through unity. This is an inevita­ble choice if it is to fight its way through the obstacles to modernization and a practical imperative to keep providing humanity with invaluable stability and positivity for creat­ing a brighter future. Therefore, countries of the Global South, including China, must strengthen solidarity and coopera­tion and shoulder our responsibilities with courage and initiative. By doing so, we will continue to provide the constructive think­ing and strength needed to preserve world peace and development and build a global community of shared future.

Jointly promoting more inclusive global development through mutual assistance

President Xi has noted that development embodies people’s aspiration for a better life. It is the top priority for developing countries and a timeless theme for human­ity. In recent years, global development has hit major roadblocks, which have eroded the momentum of international develop­ment cooperation. As a vulnerable group ill-equipped to withstand risks in the world economy, Global South countries have borne the brunt, suffering severe impacts. In light of this, the pressing tasks for the Global South, and the crucial issues for the world economy at large, are expanding development space, creating opportunities for growth, and making the global economic pie larger.

It is thus imperative that the Global South put development high on the agenda. To this end, in the first place, it should reject economic decoupling, delinking of industrial and supply chains, and economic coercion and collectively strive to create a more just and equitable external environment condu­cive to development. Secondly, Global South countries should jointly advance the Global Development Initiative, work hand in hand to build a community for shared develop­ment, and seek to become more involved in the international division of labor through heightened North-South exchange and cooperation. Thirdly, to spur common development, it is essential for the Global South to further refine South-South cooper­ation platforms such as BRICS, the SCO, and G77+China, while broadening bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms among Asian, African, and Latin American countries and regions. Steps should also be taken to pursue high-level mutually benefi­cial cooperation and establish high-standard demonstration zones. In addition, Global South countries should press ahead with high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, promoting the alignment of development strategies and infrastructure connectivity. Such efforts will see Belt and Road coopera­tion yielding more and more benefits for the Global South.

Jointly safeguarding world peace and stability through solidarity and coordination

Peace is both a prerequisite for the devel­opment of the Global South and an aspira­tion shared by all peoples worldwide. In recent times, intensified rivalry between major countries and frequent flare-ups of hotspot issues threatening regional security have rendered the global security environ­ment volatile and fragile, with the outlook less than optimistic. As President Xi has pointed out, history has repeatedly proved that confrontation does not solve problems but invites catastrophic consequences; and protectionism and unilateralism, far from protecting anyone, ultimately hurt one’s own interests as well as those of others. Even worse are the practices of hegemony and bullying, which run counter to the tide of history.

As such, Global South countries should collaborate to move forward with the Global Security Initiative, paving the way for universal security. In the face of prevalent wars and conflicts, the whole group needs to remain staunchly opposed to hegemon­ism and power politics of all forms, bloc confrontation, and military coercion. It should advocate the resolution of differences and disputes through dialogue and coopera­tion and push for political solutions to inter­national and regional hotspot issues. In this process, the Global South can contribute its insights and strength to world peace and stability. Furthermore, to resist exter­nal intervention and the spillover effects of conflicts, it is pivotal for Global South countries to support each other’s core inter­ests and enhance coordination on major international and regional issues based on deeper strategic communication and mutual trust on security. These collaborative efforts will help create a secure and stable interna­tional environment.

Jointly broadening the path of human advancement through mutual learning

The defining feature of human society is its diverse array of cultures, each of which is a precious intangible treas­ure worthy of preservation. Yet, certain countries still insist on clinging to notions of cultural superiority and deliberately try to stoke cultural estrangement. Even worse, they are using cultural differences as a tool to incite ideological antagonism and interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries. They also presumptu­ously dictate the development paths of the Global South and try to force their values and models on others.

In the face of these various forms of cultural discrimination and suppression, all Global South countries should embrace the Global Civilizations Initiative. First of all, it is necessary to respect and preserve the world’s rich tapestry of civilizations in line with the principles of equality and inclu­siveness. By promoting exchange, mutual learning, coexistence, and shared prosperity among civilizations, Global South countries can jointly turn our world into a vibrant garden where myriad cultures interact and flourish side by side. Secondly, to defend the right to independent development, Global South countries should stand firmly behind each other’s explorations for a path to modernization that suits their respec­tive national contexts. This way, we can create new forms of human advancement and provide humanity with more options for pursuing modernization. Thirdly, in addition to showcasing the unique value and charm of its own culture, there is also a need for each country of the Global South to transform and develop its tradi­tional culture in creative and innovative ways while striding toward modernization. Finally, vigorous efforts should be made to step up people-to-people exchanges and connectivity by pursuing more friendly interactions across various sectors and at all levels. By doing so, the Global South will allow its cultures to thrive side by side and provide an enduring inspirational force for advancing modernization.

The rise of the Global South—home to the majority of the world’s nations—represents the aspirations of all people who live there, the direction in which the tide of history is moving, and a source of hope amid momen­tous once-in-a-century changes. As a stead­fast member of the Global South, China will stay closely united with fellow nations to assume responsibilities, rise to challenges, and advance the Global Development Initi­ative, the Global Security Initiative, and the Global Civilizations Initiative. In this way, we will lay a solid foundation and pool vast strength for our concerted endeav­ors to build a modern Global South that is prosperous, strong, and culturally advanced, as well as a global community of shared future.


Liu Jianchao, is Head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee.

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