Five Principles and Global Governance


By LI YIHU

DISCUSSION OF THE FIVE PRINCIPLES: Former Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Indian President K.P. Narayanan and former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali at the International Seminar on Peaceful Coexistence held in Beijing on June 14

Since the 1980s, global issues have become more and more prominent. Not a single country could possibly solve problems such as the prevention of massive destruction by nuclear wars, the danger of proliferation of nuclear weapons, the economic difficulties of developing and developed countries, environmental pollution, refugee problems, international crime, and so on. The current international relations have shown their inherent restrictions, and the traditional international political approaches no longer work as well as they have done during the past decades. On the other hand, it is the existence of global issues that reinforces the interdependence among nations in economic, social, cultural and political areas. This interdependence has become a structural regime of world relationships. On the basis of the coexistence, globalization is integrating various economic elements all over the world, optimizing the distribution of economic resources. Although globalization is firstly an economic phenomenon, it is no longer specifically economic, but also social and cultural, because it promotes both the economic reciprocity and the social and cultural communications among states. In the world’s structural relations, the states tend to strengthen their cooperation, maximizing their interests through collaborations, not conflicts.

During globalization, global governance becomes an attractive burgeoning phenomenon. Global governance is to systematically tackle global problems that occur in societies, countries and regions all over the world. Comparing with traditional international relationships, global governance does not merely rely upon the cooperation among the national governments; in fact, it depends on the supports from a variety of sources, such as multinational institutions, social societies, communities, and even individual societies. Especially, the international organizations will play a more important role in global governance. To some extent, global governance is a positive, efficient and effective regime, and it emphasizes the actual effectiveness of the government to global society. Why? The internal affairs of a country are treated by its own government; however, no superior government is responsible for the international issues. It is a kind of global anarchy, under which most problems are processed under political interactions and international institutions and laws. Global governance basically inherits the characteristics and advantages of these approaches, and also possesses its originally unique superiority and particularity. It mainly takes effect in the following four domains.

First, global governance can fill up the vacancies that national governments cannot enter and take effect.

Second, global governance can solve the problem of the “failure of the international institutions.” It can come through the restrictions and help solving the problems.

Third, global governance can help improve the international laws. The international laws originate from the practice of international relations, and are getting more and more specified. Nowadays, many of the central principles and norms have been derived from the practice of non-governmental entities. Global governance is primarily composed of the interactions of the non-governmental entities, thus it can provide a crucial resource for the perfection of the international law.

Fourth, global governance will extend the activity space for international organizations, thus promoting democracy in the international relations.

Then, at this special moment to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, what is the significance that we relate to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence to global governance?

It is that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence is simultaneously the basic principle of international relations and the foundation of the new international order and that global governance is an important principle of the new international order. Therefore, the two concepts connect with each other in theory and practice, essentiality and logicality, and could even be unified. Our mission is to explore their relationship and reveal their logical necessity on a theoretical level of international relations. To some extent, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence put their emphasis on relationships between states, and the global governance stresses all kinds of relations in global society. They differ from each other on a function level, however, promote each other on practice levels. If we handle these two levels carefully, future international relations will be enlightened, and we could expect a great new international order. We could also be assured of the burgeoning development of new international institutions, management approaches and principles of international laws, under the reciprocal interaction between the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and global governance.