By Liu Zongyi Source:Global Times Published: 2016-7-25
The Group of 20 (G20) 2016 summit will be held in September in Hangzhou, East China`s Zhejiang Province. At a time of global economic downturn, rising international geopolitical conflicts and frequent crises, whether the summit can be a success is a concern not only for international relations circles, but people who care about China`s development.
China joined the G20 mechanism first and foremost to participate in global governance and promote reforms of the international system. The G20 mechanism came into being in response to global financial and economic crisis.
This indicates that in a globalized era, the financial and economic policy of all countries need to be coordinated; meanwhile, developed countries alone can no longer handle the international financial and economic crisis and the emerging economies have become important forces in the global economic landscape. Although emerging countries are going through a development slowdown, the power shift from developed countries to them remains a general trend.
The biggest problem facing G20 members is the lack of a unified and common global order. Emerging economies like China hope to gain a bigger say in the international system through the G20 mechanism, the only platform for dialogue on an equal footing between them and developed countries, and to help make international rules. They hope to promote the reforms of international finance, investment and trade systems and win more equal opportunities for them and other developing countries.
Besides, by participating in the G20 mechanism China demonstrates its pursuit of peaceful development. China proposes to gradually reform the current international system rather than overthrow it. The transition of the G20 is by nature a reorganization of international order. China intends to become part of the efforts to build international economic order and be a responsible stakeholder. The G20 summit is considered a platform where the US and China adjust to each other in an international arena. How much they can interact with each other at G20 summit and other major economic forums will help define the future of their bilateral ties.
Moreover, China can inject new dynamics into G20 development. The G20 has lost its importance in Western eyes after the economic crisis, and some international observers think China should play a leading role in the mechanism. As an economic power, China can play a critical part in curbing global risks, promoting international growth, trade, investment, finance and global governance. As a developing country, China is well-positioned to understand the needs and demands of low-income and developing countries and protect their interests.
By hosting the G20 summit, China can create a favorable external environment for its further reform and opening up. The Belt and Road initiative is a top-level design of China`s opening up and economic diplomacy, and is China`s solution to the problem of ensuring global peaceful development.
But G20 needs more than infrastructure investment. A key point lies in how countries can coordinate and cooperate on the investment, not competition or conflicts. The world will see promising prospects of economic growth if G20 nations can be more coordinated in macro-economic policy and development strategies.
Meanwhile, being part of the G20 means China needs to comply with more international rules. Through the G20 summit, China can push forward its domestic economic and social reforms and better coordinate and integrate the economic and social development with foreign trade and investment. This year is the first of the 13th Five-Year Plan and a crucial point of economic restructuring. China can take the opportunity of chairing G20 to enhance the creditability of its economic plan and display its resolution to advance economic restructuring so as to obtain international understanding and support.
To this end, China needs to properly coordinate relations with the US, BRICs, G7 and other developing countries.
China has put development high on the agenda of the G20 Hangzhou summit, the first time that this topic has been highlighted in global macro-policy framework and that an action plan is made around implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Thus China has taken the moral high ground. Anyong who tries to sabotage the Hangzhou summit will be set against the whole of developing countries.
BRICs countries constitute important support for the upcoming G20 summit while European members of G7 can be made partners to make the summit a success. Meanwhile, the Sino-US cooperation is crucial for a successful G20 summit. Despite their achievements in the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue in June, the two sides still have divergences over the South China Sea disputes and the tensions may flare up. China needs to learn from the G20 St. Petersburg summit in 2013 and take precautionary actions to prevent geopolitical conflicts from disturbing the Hangzhou summit.
The author is a visiting fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.