Non-interference and non-use of force principle

As early as 2015, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi proposed three principles to address hot issues, namely that

we adhere to the non-intervention principles into the domestic affairs of the other countries instead of imposing the wills to the others; we insist on the objectivity and impartiality instead of seeking the private interests; we uphold the political solution instead of using the force.

(“Wang Yi”)

In academia, there have been several concepts brought forward in this regard, among which Wang Yizhou proposed “creative engage-ment/intervention”, which underlines three aspects: adherence to

UN authority, diplomatic means, and strength in both hard and soft power. Zhao Huasheng advocates for “constructive intervention” to mediate conflicts, as it is reasonable for China to adhere to the nonintervention principle in countries or conflict zones where there is little vital interest or capability to intervene. Others assert that, given that China has critical concerns, interests, and leverages, China should not hesitate to intervene (Zhao). Chiung-Chiu Huang and Chih-yu Shih put forward “harmonious intervention”, using “a cultural/civilizational approach to explaining the dynamics of interplay between China’s rise and global governance. The key argument [is] that China’s quest for security is more centered on the balance of harmonious relations than national interest”.5 Another concept is “deliberative involvement”, which means that China, with or without other countries and international organizations, under the principles of state sovereignty and human rights norms, underlines political and diplomatic means to tackle problems. China should consult with parties, and sometimes mediate between opposing parties in conflict, which will help to protect the human rights of the civilians and realize peace (Li Zhiyong “Norm Contestation”).

In addition, China insists on the non-interference principle in the cognate fields of peacekeeping and the responsibility to protect. As Mordechai Chaziza observes, “China’s mediation diplomacy is part of a carefully devised strategy that suits the country’s non-intervention policy framework” (Chaziza). Though China would have the capability to intervene, it still is not willing to intervene with coercive means or a military approach, but rather is aiming at conflict management instead of conflict resolution. In practice, due to the peaceful and non-confrontational positions China takes, China is sometimes the “only mediator that can bring all the opponents to the negotiating table, as it did in the case of Afghanistan” (Putz).

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