Friday, Aug 23, 2002
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By P. S. Suryanarayana
The two nations drafted a nucleus of security norms to serve as the basic building block of "a just and rational international new order''. The agreement was spelt out in a joint communique issued by the Prime Ministers of the two countries at the conclusion of their latest `regular meeting' in Shanghai.
The Chinese Prime Minister, Zhu Rongji, and his Russian counterpart, Mikhail Kasyanov, said the concept should be anchored to international law. "Mutual trust, equality and cooperation'' among the states with an anti-terror fervour would form the framework of the updated security concept.
The salient features of the strategic entente are their stern opposition to the unilateralist style and substance of the United States, an urgent appeal to the international community to safeguard the outer space from weaponisation moves of any country, most notably the U.S., and a definitive proposal that the United Nations Securtiy Council ``should play a core role in (the) international anti-terrorist operations''.
While China and Russia have not actually distanced themselves from the U.S.-led anti-terror war, Mr. Zhu and Mr. Kasyanov have certainly made a joint effort to compete with the U.S. for the common strategic space in this global campaign. The real political significance of the latest Sino-Russian accord is that China, which first spoke of a new security concept at the recent ASEAN Regional Forum session in Brunei, has now found a partner in Russia.
China made its move in Brunei in the context of America's effort there to begin fashioning a worldwide web of anti-terror alliances. Now, China and Russia have portrayed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which binds them with some Central Asian republics, as a worthy anti-terror group, in a purely regional context as distinct from the larger global scene and the U.N.'s relevance to it.
An authoritative Chinese summary of the latest Sino-Russian joint communique speaks of "the urgency for ensuring that (the) outer space remains weapons-free''. The entire international community has been urged to take necessary legal steps to ensure a weapons-free outer space.
Terrorism, according to the leaders of China and Russia, "poses a common threat to the whole international community''.
Given this reality, any anti-terrorist strikes should be undertaken only on the basis of international law and in observance of the U.N. Charter. Calling for closer international cooperation to fight terror, Mr. Zhu and Mr. Kasyanov said the anti-terrorist strikes, such as those now being carried out under the U.S.' auspices, should suffer from "no double standards''. Nor should terrorism be linked to specific ethnic groups or religions. Above all, the U.N. and its Security Council should take the lead and play a "core role'' insofar as international anti-terrorist operations are concerned. The two Prime Ministers noted that such concepts would help promote a better framework for international relations and advance economic globalisation as also ``multi-polarisation processes'' in global politics.
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