Maintaining Law-Based Global Order of Common Interest to All Nations

Amid the confrontation over the Ukraine crisis between developed democratic nations such as Japan, the United States and those in Europe, and authoritarian countries such as China and Russia, the presence of a group of emerging and developing countries that take a neutral stance is growing.

Japan, together with the United Nations, needs to support these countries and deepen solidarity with them under the common goal of upholding order based on international law.

India has organized the Voice of Global South Summit online. “Global South” refers to emerging and developing countries located primarily in the southern hemisphere such as those of Asia and Africa.

Developing countries with fragile economic and social foundations have been hit hard by soaring food and energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The disruption of supply chains due to the tension between the United States and China has also had a major impact. Island nations have been raising their sense of urgency over the rising sea levels due to climate change.

Many of the developing countries do not agree with Western nations’ sanctions against Russia, and some, like India, are expanding imports of Russian crude oil, which has become cheaper. The moves of the emerging and developing countries that strike a balance between the United States and Europe, and China and Russia are major factors influencing global politics.

During the two-day summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded the conference by emphasizing, “We want a globalization that brings prosperity and well-being to humanity as a whole.” In his opening remarks, he also claimed, “Most of the global challenges have not been created by the Global South.”

This year, India is chairing a summit of the Group of 20 major economies. The Global South summit is apparently aimed at consolidating issues in developing nations and making use of the results for discussions at the G20 summit.

The Global South summit was attended by 125 countries, and ministerial-level discussions were reportedly held in respective areas such as finance, environment, energy, trade and education.

However, even if the discussions themselves were beneficial, Modi’s comments indicated India’s intention to attempt to play the role of the leader of developing countries in rivalry with China in order to put pressure on developed nations. A situation must be avoided in which India’s move this time will lead to competition for regional leadership and international influence.

Developing countries have three-quarters of the world’s population. The stability of the international community cannot be maintained by ignoring their intentions, but political situations and economic conditions differ from nation to nation. Thus, it is not easy for them to take concerted action.

But if behavior that disregards international law, such as Russia’s aggression, is rampant, the safety and prosperity of developing countries will not be ensured. The United Nations should take the lead in spreading the awareness that it is in the common interest of all countries to thoroughly maintain the rule of law.

Japan, as the chair of the summit of the Group of Seven advanced nations this year, must also actively promote this principle.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 17, 2023)