Regional security and China’s Global Security Initiative

IN light of the recent Shangri-La Dialogue 2024 in Singapore, where defense ministers, military chiefs and top officials from the Asia-Pacific and beyond convened to discuss regional security issues, it is crucial to examine the complexities and dynamics of regional and global security. Given the increasing geopolitical tensions and volatility, it is imperative to assess the critical role that China’s Global Security Initiative (GSI) could play in addressing these challenges. The GSI’s principles of mutual respect, comprehensive security and multilateral cooperation offer a strategic framework for promoting stability and peace in the Asia-Pacific region during these uncertain times.

Geopolitical context

Today’s geopolitical landscape is marked by an alarming increase in strategic competition and rivalry, particularly between the United States and China in the Indo-Pacific region. This rivalry extends across multiple domains: technology, trade, military, defense and security, and political and diplomatic influence over international organizations and countries. Relations between Russia and NATO have also deteriorated, especially in the context of the Ukraine crisis, leading to a resurgence of Cold War-like tensions in Europe. The ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, including those in Syria, Yemen and the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict, continue to fuel regional instability.

Regionally, in the context of Asia-Pacific, three of the most prominent security challenges include the Taiwan Strait issue, the South China Sea (SCS) dispute, and North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. The Taiwan Strait has been a significant point of contention. It is one of Asia’s most volatile areas and a contentious flash point. On the other hand, the SCS dispute remains a critical area of focus, with countries discussing maritime security, freedom of navigation, and territorial and maritime disputes. North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, on the other hand, are also a great concern, which makes the calls for denuclearization and regional stability imperative.

Moreover, the creation of new regional blocs and partnerships like the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) and Aukus (Australia-UK-US partnership) adds to the already complex and volatile security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region. Aside from geopolitical concerns, there’s looming economic instability due to geopolitical tensions and trade wars that have significantly disrupted global supply chains, cybersecurity concerns, concerns about the technological arms race, issues related to climate change, and environmental and health challenges, which demand immediate attention and action from regional countries and nations across continents.

Indeed, the world faces growing volatility, geopolitical tensions and bloc confrontation, which are interconnected global and regional challenges that require coordinated and multifaceted approaches to navigate effectively. How we can address and manage these geopolitical and geo-economic challenges to ease potential conflict and maintain stability in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond is imperative and deserves much consideration.


Amid geopolitical volatility and tensions, China’s Global Security Initiative (GSI) has the potential to play a pivotal role. This role is best realized by adhering to the initiative’s core principles and objectives. Three key principles of the GSI that could effectively and in many ways address these challenges are “mutual respect,” which advocates for the respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity among nations. By upholding this principle, countries can foster a more stable and respectful international environment. Second, “common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security” is a new security concept emphasizing mutual cooperation and sustainable development. It seeks to address security challenges through a holistic approach that benefits all parties involved and promotes long-term stability and prosperity. Third is the concept and idea of “Indivisible Security,” a principle that underscores that the security of one nation should not come at the expense of another. It promotes the idea that security is interconnected and that cooperative measures are essential to ensure collective safety. By implementing these principles, the GSI can counter unilateral actions by some countries, such as the United States, uphold multilateralism and support the development of a multipolar world order. This approach can enhance regional and global governance, creating a more balanced and peaceful world order.

Furthermore, the GSI could be effectively utilized as a framework for conflict mediation, dispute resolution and diplomatic solutions, especially in areas such as the South China Sea, the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the Ukraine crisis, and various conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. By emphasizing mutual respect, sustainable security and multilateralism, the GSI holds significant potential to promote stability and cooperation in today’s volatile world. Through these principles, the initiative can help mitigate bloc confrontations and foster a more harmonious international environment, making it an invaluable tool for addressing global and regional security challenges.

Asia-Pacific regional security

Speaking of regional security, maintaining a secure, stable and peaceful Asia-Pacific region is crucial due to its economic significance, strategic importance, geopolitical dynamics and potential for conflict. Ensuring stability in this region is essential not only for regional countries’ prosperity, peace and security but also for global peace and economic well-being.

Note that the Asia-Pacific region is the world’s economic powerhouse. It includes the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies, such as China, Japan, South Korea and the Asean countries. The region is a major driver of global economic growth and trade.

The Asia-Pacific region also encompasses critical maritime trade routes, including the South China Sea, through which a substantial portion of regional and global trade passes. Ensuring the security of these routes is essential for both regional and global economies. Additionally, the region plays a pivotal role in global supply chains, particularly in the technology, manufacturing and energy sectors. Disruptions here can have extensive impacts on industries worldwide. High levels of foreign direct investment and trade linkages between Asia-Pacific countries and the rest of the world highlight the importance of regional security, peace and stability for global economic health. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure peace, security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and the principles of the Global Security Initiative can significantly contribute to achieving these objectives. Hence, while other principles such as multilateral cooperation, adherence to international law and promoting sustainable development are equally important, mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity stands out as the cornerstone of maintaining regional security and peace. It creates the foundation for trust, cooperation and stability, which are essential for comprehensively addressing traditional and nontraditional security challenges.

In addition, promoting regional economic interdependence through trade and investment can create mutual interests in maintaining regional security, peace and stability. Enhancing people-to-people ties through cultural, educational and academic exchanges to foster mutual understanding and reduce nationalist sentiments that fuel conflicts is also necessary.


Undoubtedly, upholding the principles of the Global Security Initiative and multilateralism while promoting inclusive and sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region is crucial for navigating an emerging multipolar world. This entails fostering cooperation among Asia-Pacific countries to pursue inclusive and sustainable development within a regional order where all nations are treated equally and fairly. Decision-making should be rooted in consensus-building through peaceful and diplomatic dialogue and negotiations, especially when resolving conflicts and disputes. Inclusive development ensures shared growth and prosperity, guaranteeing that no country in the region is left behind. This approach promotes regional stability and enhances global economic health, peace and security.

Source: The Manila Times

Prof. Anna Rosario Malindog-Uy

Prof. Anna Rosario Malindog-Uy is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development (ISSCAD), Peking University, Beijing, China. She is currently a director and the Vice President for External Affairs of the Asian Century Philippines Strategic Studies Institute (ACPSSI), a think tank based in Manila. She also serves as the political/geopolitical analyst of ACPSSI. Currently, she is a Senior Researcher of the South China Sea Probing Initiative (SCSPI) and a Senior Research Fellow of the Global Governance Institution (GGI). She is also the President of Techperformance Corp, an IT-based company in the Philippines. Prof. Anna Uy taught Political Science, International Relations, Development Studies, European Studies, Southeast Asia, and China Studies. She is a researcher-writer, academic, and consultant on a wide array of issues. She has worked as a consultant with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other local and international NGOs.