Saturday, September 19, 2020

Lesson of WWII history in mind, hand in hand for a better future

The 3rd of September 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. 75 years ago, after 14 years of arduous struggle, the heroic Chinese people, with 35 million casualties of sacrifice, won the historic victory over Japanese aggression at the conclusion of World War II. As the main battlefield of WWII East Theatre, China contained and confronted the main forces of Japan, offered strong support to the Allied Force on various battlefields, which contributed greatly to the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War.

World War II was the biggest and deadliest war in human history. The most important lesson mankind learnt from it is that such a tragedy should never repeat. Arose from the ashes of WWII, the international community jointly built the international order and system with the United Nations as the centerpiece and UN Charter as foundation, safeguarding world peace and development in the Post-war era. 75 years since the founding of the UN, the world has witnessed no new world wars; many regional conflicts have been mitigated. Most nations have come to realize that differences must be settled through dialogue and conflicts resolved through mediation.

As we reflect on WWII, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage. UN Secretary General António Guterres warned that the current coronavirus outbreak is the biggest challenge for the world since WWII. To meet the challenges of our time, whether it is to pursue peace and stability, achieve common development, combat COVID-19 or improve post-COVID global governance, strengthening international cooperation is the right path.

First, we need to uphold multilateralism and reject unilateralism and protectionism. Unilateralism and protectionism are not about differences between particular countries, but rather the choice to be made between win-win cooperation and zero-sum game and between right and wrong. We must always stand on the side of multilateralism and international justice, upholding the international system built around the UN.

Second, we need to support greater democracy in international relations and reject hegemonism and power politics. The basic norms governing international relations, such as respect for national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs, must be observed by all. Countries, irrespective of their size, strength and wealth, are equal. Consultation, cooperation and benefit for all should be our guiding principle to help make sure that the global governance system is responsive to the concerns and needs of the majority of countries, in particular the developing countries.

Third, we need to safeguard the international order underpinned by international law and reject unlawful acts and double standards. Upholding the international rule of law is what our people want and what this globalized world needs. We must firmly uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and oppose unauthorized use of force, withdrawal from international organizations and agreements and other such behaviors that weaken the authority and sanctity of international law.

Fourth, we need to call for solidarity and cooperation and reject self-conceit and beggar-thy-neighbor practices. Solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon against common challenges. Cooperation against COVID-19 has become an urgent task. In fighting the disease, we must always follow a people-first approach and put saving lives above all else. The world needs to come together and give the World Health Organization full support in playing its statutory role. Any politicization, stigmatization or name-calling associated with the virus must be rejected, so should scapegoating and blame-shifting.

75 years ago, China fought shoulder to shoulder with all the peace-loving countries and won WWII, making significant contributions to the world’s victory over fascism. Today, China will continue to make joint efforts with the international community to win the war against the pandemic. Upholding the commitment to multilateralism, China and Botswana both firmly oppose unilateralism and the acts of bullying. China is always willing to work with Botswana to strengthen the cooperation of pandemic prevention and control, resolutely safeguard multilateralism and oppose the politicization of COVID-19, so as to jointly contribute to building a community with a shared future for mankind.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.