International law vs rules-based international order: China, Russia call for UN Security Council summit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in the Chinese city of Guilin today as the two nations mark the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the China-Russia Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation.

The foreign ministers of the two nuclear nations, permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and recipients of mounting daily abuse and threats from the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization issued a joint declaration after the talks, the essence of which was summarized by Russia’s TASS news agency with the headline China ready to protect world order based on international law together with Russia. (With the subtitle of Moscow and Beijing should act as guarantors of justice in international affairs, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.)

The statement called for a meeting of the UN Security Council to, in the words of China’s Xinhua News Agency, “facilitate direct dialogue and discussion of solutions to problems facing [humanity] and help maintain stability in the world.”

TASS quotes Foreign Minister Wang Yi as affirming that “China is ready to promote the international system established by the United Nations, protect the world order based on international law, and abide by universal values such as peace, development, justice, democracy, equality and freedom,” and calling for Beijing and Moscow to “act as guarantors of justice in international affairs.”

The repeated reference to international law and the United Nations is transparently a challenge to the so-called rules-based international order heralded of late by U.S. officials but most stridently and relentlessly by NATO’s’ Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who never lets a day pass without invoking it. The rules-based international order will be, avowedly or implicitly, at the very heart of this week’s two-day meeting of the foreign ministers and secretaries of the military alliance’s thirty member states. The concept was addressed yesterday in an opinion piece by A. Wess Mitchell, chairman of the NATO 2030 Reflection Process team and recent Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, in advocating India be admitted into NATO ranks as a partner.

Xinhua paraphrases Wang Yi’s comments today as follows: “China is willing to further strengthen cooperation with Russia under the multilateral framework, jointly safeguard multilateralism, maintain the international system with the UN at the core and the international order based on international law, while firmly opposing unilateral sanctions as well as interference in other countries’ internal affairs.”

China’s Global Times followed up on the joint Russian-Chinese statement with this commentary:

“Chinese experts said the China-Russia foreign ministers joint statement on global governance is a heavy blow to the US-claimed ‘rules-based international order,’ as it stressed all countries should firmly safeguard the international system with the UN at its core, and the international order with international law as the foundation.

“Analysts said the US is trying to use its own definition of international order and universal values to manipulate and discipline other countries to extend its hegemony, and that’s why China and Russia, two permanent members of the UN Security Council, must speak out to break its monopoly on narratives and rule-making, to push the democratization of international relations.”

China is justified in suspecting and opposing the rules-based international order (also referred to, though less frequently, as values-based international order and liberal international order when it’s not labeled as what it is, U.S.-led liberal international order. Earlier this month when Germany deployed a warship to the South China Sea the U.S. State Department hailed the move by saying, “We welcome Germany’s support for a rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific….”

The U.S. and fellow members of the post-Cold War order it has constructed – expanded, global NATO with its thirty members and forty partners in every continent but Antarctica and the European Union most notably – are bent on remaking the entire world of 194 UN members, hundreds of rich and distinct cultures and civilizations, thousands of languages and dozens of major religions and political philosophies into inferior copies of what the West has currently evolved into. And not only to be integrated into, which is to say subordinated to, an American-dominated political, economic and military order, but to be forced to adopt down to the most minute and ever-shifting particular every twist and turn of American and European social, cultural, sexual, ethnographic and other policies, and that not in the form of lateral local adaptations but as vertical extraneous impositions.

Today the world has been informed for the first time that the campaign to impose the West’s rules-based international order will be challenged.