G20: Global governance and Chinese wisdom

As a multilateral coordination and consultation mechanism, it is vital for the G20 summit in Hangzhou to achieve tangible results. 

Twenty years ago, when the G7 – the G20’s predecessor – was founded, China was still kept outside the gate of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Now, China has become the presiding country of the G20, playing a leading role in global economic governance and in the reconstruction of the international order. The fact that China has made such a leap in international status is not accidental. It is the inevitable result of China’s continual integration into the international community, its participation in global governance, and its contributions to world development since it implemented the reform and opening-up policies in the early 1980s.

So, as the presiding country and now the host of the G20 summit, what special role can China be expected to play?

First, it will be a representative of – and bridge for – developing countries to participate in global governance.

The G20 is not a “rich country club,” despite accounting for 90 percent of overall global trade and 80 percent of overall global economy. Its mission is to coordinate state policies, influence global economic trends and achieve win-win situations for all countries.

China is the world’s second largest economy, a member of the BRICS group and the world’s largest developing country. This unique “three-in-one” status enables China to have a more profound understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by countries at different stages of development. It also means that China is well suited to play the role of a bridge in global governance.

Second, China’s 30 years of rapid development have provided it with useful experiences for global economic governance.

Since implementing reform and opening up in the 1980s, China has had rapid economic development for 30 consecutive years, its GDP rising from the 10th to second place in that same time span. Throughout its development process, China has solved the problem of providing food and clothing for its 1.3 billion people. Particularly after the outbreak of the global economic crisis in 2008, its economy has remained sound, becoming a pillar of strength and making great contributions to help the world economy shake off the crisis. Of course, this development has led to some problems, including environmental pollution, structural imbalance and overcapacity. Facing such problems, common in economic development, China can make its own adjustments by referring to the practices of developed countries. At the same time, China’s experiences are a useful reference for developing countries.

Third, the development strategy China is implementing is providing strong support for global governance.

With its economic development and increasing national strength, China has been moving faster and faster towards the center of the world stage while assuming the responsibilities expected of a great country.

Since 2008, China has hosted the Beijing Olympic Games, the Shanghai World Expo, the World Internet Conference and other large international events. Its national development strategy has increasingly been geared towards international collaboration and cooperation. Take the “Belt and Road” initiative as an example, these economic corridors, initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping – which span Asia, Africa and Europe, and are dedicated to “jointly building, owning and sharing” – are entirely consistent with the G20’s goal of seeking cooperation and promoting development. According to an assessment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the implementation of the initiative will enable China’s contribution to world economic growth to reach 30-40 percent.

Similar national development strategies include the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the economic growth philosophy of “innovation, coordination, green development, openness and sharing,” which was put forward at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). All these will supplement and enrich the G20’s goal of improved global governance.

Fourth, oriental wisdom will provide Chinese solutions to the issues faced by global governance.

As a multilateral coordination and consultation mechanism, the G20 covers political, military, trade, security and energy issues that concern everyone. To achieve tangible results and avoid empty talks and discussions seen in the G7 era, the G20 summit must not only see sincere efforts from all participating parties, but also the use of wisdom when tackling differences and the ability to seek common ground, focus on the overall situation, seek the truth and deal with concrete matters.

The theme of the forthcoming G20 Hangzhou Summit is “building an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy.” In order to facilitate discussion, China has concisely and clearly proposed four key priorities, namely “forging a new path for growth, more effective and efficient global economic and financial governance, robust international trade and investment, and inclusive and interconnected development.” This is what the Chinese people call “open the door and see the mountain” – getting straight to the point.

Each year, before the G20 summit, there are many rounds of coordinators’ meetings, central bank governors’ and finance ministers’ meetings, ministerial meetings, working groups’ meetings and various other support forums. This year, in addition to these regular meetings, China has arranged G20-related supporting activities, such as the Think 20 (T20) Summit, the Youth 20 (Y20) Summit, the Women’s 20 (W20) Summit, and the Business 20 (B20) Summit, making preparations for the summit from different angles and fields. By the time the Hangzhou gathering starts, conditions will be ripe for success, just like a Chinese proverb goes: where water flows, a channel has been built.

In three weeks, the G20 Hangzhou Summit will officially open, and the famous West Lake will welcome more than 30 leaders from around the world. With a reputation as a “paradise on earth,” Hangzhou will present the world a G20 summit with plentiful and meaningful results. We are looking forward to this with great anticipation.

The author Wang Xiaohui is editor-in-chief of China.org.cn.

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