Students lay flowers for unknown martyrs during a memorial activity at the Victory Square of Shanghai Songhu Memorial Hall of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in Shanghai, east China, Sept. 3, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
The world will never forget the value of peace, especially on the 75th anniversary of the V-Day, when veterans across the world commemorated and reflected on the hard-won fight against Japanese aggression and the end of the WWII.
China and Russia - the two countries that paid the heaviest price for ultimate victory during that war - have a much deeper understanding of the importance of stability and world peace, while the US, which also emerged as a major victorious country in the war and used to work along with China and Russia's predecessor, the Soviet Union, to fight foreign aggression, has ended up constantly stirring conflicts and confrontations in the Asia-Pacific region.
As the world faces great changes unseen in a century amid the COVID-19 pandemic, US unilateralism and bullying have become the greatest challenge to the postwar international order, while China and Russia are expected to lead multilateralism, stability and peace, experts said.
Thursday (September 3) marked the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. Russia previously moved the date to mark the end of the World War II from September 2 to September 3.
Top leaders of the two countries exchanged messages on Thursday, pledging to join efforts with the international community to resolutely safeguard world peace and prevent wars.
Chinese President Xi Jinping recalled that on the same day 75 years ago, the victories of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the Soviet Union's war against Japan marked the final victory of the World Anti-Fascist War.
China and Russia, the main battlefields in Asia and Europe, endured great national sacrifices for, and made indelible historic contributions to the victory in the war, Xi said, noting that the Chinese and Russian people fought side by side, and forged an unbreakable friendship with blood, laying a solid foundation for the high-level development of bilateral relations.
Chinese people showed great spirit of resistance during the war against Japanese aggression, demonstrated to the world the patriotic feeling, national integrity and heroic spirit and indomitable faith, Xi said at a symposium commemorating the war victory on Thursday afternoon.
Four ambassadors from China and Russia also published articles amid the V-Day anniversary, expressing the two countries' joint stance on correctly recognizing the history and stressing China and Russia will stay committed to pushing forward cooperation as good neighbors and friends, promote global stability and security.
On Wednesday, the US Defense Secretary Mark Esper spoke at a ceremony aboard the USS Missouri to commemorate the anniversary, with some media interpreting his remarks as sending a message to China because he made oblique references to China as the new threat to international order.
"Two countries — Russia and China — are challenging that rules-based order," read a statement published on the US Department of Defense website.
"Such a high-profile commemoration between China and Russia on the 75th anniversary of the V-Day took place because the two countries reject the US-led hegemony in the West and any attempt to distort history and deny the contributions of the Soviet Union and China to the World Anti-Fascist War," Li Xing, a professor at the School of Government of Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times on Thursday.
In the postwar era, China and Russia share the same vision in upholding multilateralism as the international order, which carries realistic value today, the expert said.
Threats and challenges
What is the mainstream value in the postwar world? It has become a widely discussed question among strategists, academics and world leaders. For some Chinese academics, the most important values learned from the WWII is rebuilding the world order on the basis of peace, and never allowing the same tragedy to be repeated.
As permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia both shoulder important responsibilities for the cause of world peace and development, the Chinese President stressed, while Russian President Vladimir Putin said world leaders have an obligation to prevent wars.
"What will change those values?" asked Wang Yiwei, director of the institute of international affairs at Renmin University of China in Beijing.
"Especially when the US [another major victorious country of the WWII] frequently withdraws from multilateral organizations, undermining joint efforts and consensus on major global issues, we see fewer consultations among major powers," Wang told the Global Times on Thursday.
While the US stunned other members of the UN Security Council on Friday by blocking a vote on a resolution for a ceasefire in order to help troubled nations better fight the COVID-19 pandemic, as media reported, the country has been constantly instigating regional conflicts, particularly as it seeks a NATO-like alliance with Indo-Pacific countries.
From the South China Sea, the Taiwan Straits, and the China-India border conflict, the influence of Washington is increasingly palpable amid rising tensions between China and the US, making the world much more concerned about whether a cold war between the two largest economies is turning into a hot war.
"The US is shifting off its responsibilities as a great country, as it has been constantly making provocations and trouble in other regions," Wang said, noting that Washington should be reflecting on who is now diverting from mainstream values established since the end of the WWII.
China and Russia shoulder the responsibility of safeguarding world peace and security, carrying on the mission to help push forward the development of humankind, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
The great victory 75 years ago was of special significance to China and Russia, as well as to human history, which laid the foundation for the reconstruction of the postwar international order, Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a press conference on Thursday.
While Russian and China reject a zero-sum game mentality by firmly upholding the legacy of the victory in the WWII, Russia's past experiences in dealing with long-term strained relations with the US could also offer China some idea, as Beijing has been preparing for a prolonged confrontation with Washington.
Since the end of the Cold War, Russian leaders at first wanted to improve relations with the West and later became disillusioned, Alexander Lukin, head of the Department of International Relations at HSE University and director of Center for East Asian and SCO Studies at MGIMO-University of the Russian Foreign Ministry, told the Global Times in a recent interview.
"It turned out that the only option for a big country to maintain independence is to be prepared for a lengthy period of strained relations with the US," Lukin said, noting that this situation will only change when the US again learns how to coexist with other big powers, without undermining international stability.
Russia and China, as well as other non-Western centers of power need to learn how to survive and cooperate with each other to overcome their problems, while keeping the door open to cooperation with the US on equal and mutually beneficial terms, the Russian scholar added.
The Soviet Union suffered the most in the European battlefield during World War II, with 27 million deaths, and its contributions should not be forgotten, analysts said.
Today, it is important to remember post-war agreements on a mechanism that would allow leading powers to remain within the framework of diplomacy in resolving their differences, given that historical revisionist forces dangerously distort historical narrative and the principles of peaceful development, they said.
While the world will soon commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the UN, national leaders are also urged to adjust their vision amid the rapid changes in today's world, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated those changes.
Experts suggested that it would be the greatest sin in the 21st century to decouple the world, and place humanity at great risk of new conflicts. However, the geopolitical rivalry can't be avoided, as the US pressure has put China and Russia on one side, and the two countries also face some common challenges posed by Washington.
Four ambassadors from China and Russia published articles amid the V-Day anniversary, which was considered unprecedented for high-ranking diplomats of the two countries to convey a common message to the US, experts said.