Delegates to an academic conference on international law in Beijing stressed multilateralism and cooperation among developing countries against an undermining of international rules by countries including the US through actions like unilateral sanctions.

Certain countries practice unilateralism and protectionism, disavow international obligations, undermine the multilateral mechanism, bully other countries and meddle in their affairs, impose unilateral sanctions, will fully start a trade and technology war, and have no regard for international law, said China’s Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui.

“They bring instability, conflict, and turmoil to the world and pose unprecedented challenges to the UN-centred international system based on international law,” Luo said.

Luo made the remarks during the 2019 Colloquium on International Law in the Changing World: The Role of Developing Countries held at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse and attended by 300 representatives from 80 developing countries and international organisations.

Addressing the challenges of international law, Luo called on developing countries to uphold multilateralism in international rule-making, reject unilateralism and the practice of imposing one’s own domestic rule on others as if it were the international rule.

He urged attendees to oppose the practice of long-arm jurisdiction, pointing fingers at other countries’ domestic affairs, inciting a colour revolution or regime change and abusing unilateral sanctions.

Sani L. Mohammed, the rector of the African Institute of International Law, told the Global Times on the sidelines of the colloquium that countries like the US, which has been withdrawing from UN organisations and treaties, threaten the international legal order and do not respect international rules.

Mohammed praised China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Africa’s immense infrastructure needs to justify the continent’s integration into the BRI, he said, and many African countries have developed their legal systems to better accommodate the initiative.

Developing countries should condemn unilateral sanctions by “certain countries” that illegally deprive targeted nations of basic human needs, said Rahmat Mohamad, deputy vice-chancellor at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Malaysia and former secretary-general of the Asia-Africa Legal Consultative Organisation.