by xinhua writer Liu
Chang BEIJING (Xinhua) -- For almost a
decade since the birth of the Group of 20 (G20) mechanism in 1999,
it only gathered finance ministers and central bankers, and served
only as a supplement to the Group of Seven bloc, an exclusive club
of wealthy nations dominated by Western powers.
It has all
changed when the United States and some European countries found it
hard to withstand merely by themselves the tidal waves of the 2008
global financial tsunami.
Therefore, they had to join the developing world and expand the
consultative body to a platform for leaders of the world’s major
countries to negotiate ways to arrest the adversities of the
financial crisis and to rationalize global economic governance.
As this year’s G20 summit which was held last week in Hamburg,
Germany, the evolution of the summitry over the past years has
reflected the fact that the West-led world order that has existed
for more than 200 years needs to be refashioned.
When the Cold War ended, many political and business elites in
the West used to assume that the Western style democratic political
system combined with free market economy could be mankind’s ultimate
form of governance, or in the words of U.S. political scientist
Francis Fukuyama "the end of history."
Yet the so-called "liberal world order" they have taken for
granted in the post-war period seems to be unraveling before their
Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at the Financial
Times, wrote that "the hopes of a brave new world of progress,
harmony and democracy, raised by the market opening of the 1980s and
the collapse of the Soviet Union between 1989 and 1991, have turned
In Europe, Brexit, the rise of ultra-right political groups
represented by figures like Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s
National Front, and the increasingly frequent terrorist attacks are
clouding Europe’s further integration.
Across the Atlantic, though Washington has vowed to remain
committed to a strong alliance between the United States and Europe,
their differences over trade and climate change, as well as
relations with Russia have unnerved the European leaders, who are on
tenterhooks over whether U.S. President Donald Trump has any
interest in maintaining his role as the "leader of the free world."
However, the deeply-challenged Anglo-Saxon world order still
stands only part of the Western establishment’s wildest worries.
What they also fret most is a theory that a rising China could
step into America’s shoes, and replace the old set of rules with its
In fact, the reason why China’s rise has unsettled many in Europe
and the United States is that the West has dominated the world scene
for so long that it is in one way or another not comfortable with
its own illusion that someone is going to take its place.
Thus, policy makers in the West want more than anything to rein
in those they suspect as "potential usurpers," and make sure that
they abide by the game rules the West has made.
In the 1980s, they jittered about Japan’s fast economic
expansion, and hyped up a theory that the country had a secret plan
to take over the United States.
Therefore, it would not be a surprise for the West to view China,
a country with a different political and economic system, an ever
bigger challenge or even a threat.
However, the China skeptics need to understand two important
One is that China has over the past 30 plus years worked hard to
integrate itself into the international community, which is vital
for the country to generate a huge economic success during that same
period and become the world’s second largest economy.
Srikanth Kondapali, professor of the Center for East Asian
Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in India, told Xinhua that:
"China is a major beneficiary of the international order in terms
of finances, markets, technologies, arms control and disarmament and
as a member of the United Nations since 1971."
The second thing is that China has no intention of pulling down
the current world order and build a new one based on its own
Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Kissinger Associates and former
U.S. secretary of state, said China does not want to undermine the
current world order, but "a stronger voice" and "a bigger vote."
Boris Volkhonsky, a Russian political scientist and an
independent analyst said that China plays "an important role" in
defending the interests of developing countries on many
international platforms and forming new structures of a better
However, the U.S. and European policy makers need to be aware
that the West-led post-war world order is seriously flawed and needs
to be reformed to accommodate the changes and challenges such as
terrorism and global warming that emerge with the rise of
multi-lateralism and growing interdependence.
One major problem with the Western powers is that they tend to
care more about their self-interests than the common interests of
They still incline to follow the zero-sum Cold-War mentality in
making and enforcing foreign policy.
The installation of the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea
at the urge of the United States, as well as some Washington
hardliners’ attacks on China’s sovereign rights in the South China
Sea are just some of the notorious examples to validate the West’s
arrogant political tribalism.
Another problem is that the system has failed to reflect the
legitimate rights of the developing countries for development and
Gerishon Ikiara, senior lecturer of International Economics at
the University of Nairobi, said the existing world economic order is
criticized for worsening trade imbalances and widening wealth gap
between the developed and less developed countries as the less
developed countries continue to be the weaker partners in
India’s Kondapali also holds that the institutional arrangement
in the post-war era needs to be reformed.
"The Bretton Woods system which controls most of the finances for
development and economic regulation principles of institutions such
as the World Trade Organization and others has not been reformed or
reorganized to represent the changed international landscape," he
It is now a growing consensus around the world that the global
governance system needs to be improved to serve not just the Western
powers, but all other nations.
To help shape a better world for all, Chinese President Xi
Jinping has proposed the notion of building "a community of shared
future," and the Belt and Road Initiative to materialize his vision.
The initiative, coupled with the creation of the Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank and the BRICS new development bank,
aim to upgrade infrastructure and boost trade for nations along the
ancient Silk Road and beyond.
Beijing holds that by building highways, railroads, bridges and
ports, different parts of the world can be better connected, and the
potential for stronger development would thus be released.
That is fundamental for countries in regions like the Middle East
and Africa to fix their chronic social, economic and security
problems and deliver benefits to their peoples.
China has also been trying to join the developing world in
bringing sensible changes to the global financial institutions like
the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, so as to ensure
that their voice can be heard and vital stakes can be protected.
In the security area, Beijing insists that dialogues as well as
other peaceful and cooperative means should be a major path to cool
global hotspots, while collective security of a few countries, often
achieved at the price of undermining that of others, is a bane for
overall global security.
China also seeks to shoulder its fair share of responsibility as
a major country.
It has pledged to abide by the Paris climate agreement and has
contributed a lot to the global fight against such pandemic diseases
as Ebola and has been the second-largest funder of the UN
There are now some voices in Europe and the United States urging
that the liberal world order need to be saved from doom.
In fact, what they truly intend to preserve is the continuation
of more than 200 years of Western privilege to dominate
Yet just as what President Xi said in his speech at the UN Office
at Geneva in Switzerland this January, "We should advance democracy
in international relations and reject dominance by just one or
"All countries should jointly shape the future of the world,
write international rules, manage global affairs and ensure that
development outcomes are shared by all," he noted.
For Ikiara in Kenya, he understands that to deliver all the
necessary changes to the current world order is not "an easy task."
But more importantly, "it requires genuine commitment of the
majority of both developed and the developing countries to support
appropriate international structures and institutions and to share
global resources" for a common cause, he noted.
(Xinhua reporters Yang Shilong and Li Tao in Washington,
Hu Xiaoming in New Delhi, Shi Hao in Moscow and Wang Xiaopeng in
Nairobi also contributed to the story)
G20 consensus highlights
co-operation as major trend in global governance
BEIJING China (Xinhua) --
The consensus reached at the just-concluded Group of
20 (G20) major economies on support for globalization highlights
multilateral co-operation as a major trend in global governance that
meets people’s needs.
Meanwhile, experts said China is playing an increasingly
important role in global governance, bringing up new ideas and
Leaders at the G20 summit themed "Shaping an Interconnected
World" held on July 7-8 in the German city of Hamburg pledged
support for continued globalization with a call for opening markets
and opposing protectionism.
They also agreed to work towards a stable international trading
system and more cross-border investments.
The G20 summit consensus conforms to the new circumstances of the
global economy, which is now marked by both interdependence and
instability, according to experts.
Dennis J. Snower, co-chairman of Think 20, a think tank for the
G20, believes such a global economy calls for multilateral
The global economy is "basically and completely integrated," so
the problems generated are also interdependent, such as climate
change, the financial crisis, cyber security and terrorism, he said.
"These problems cross national boundaries and can only be solved
multilaterally," said Snower, who is also president of the Kiel
Institute for the World Economy.
Dirk Messner, co-chairman of Think 20, noticed the dramatic
changes over the last three years are posing new challenges to the
Messner, also director of the German Development Institute, cited
Britain’s exit from the European Union and U.S. President Donald
Trump’s protectionist "America First" policies and withdrawal from
the Paris Climate Agreement as being among the major events to put
globalization and multilateralism at risk.
He said the year 2016 was "a shock" and "very difficult for
multilateralism" due to Trump, after the Paris climate deal was
reached and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Agenda
for 2030 signed in 2015.
However, the political and economic instabilities indicate the
changing needs of the people, he added.
Global governance "should above all answer to men’s needs," which
go beyond material prosperity to social ones such as the need for
life satisfaction and security, he noted.
Messner believes that as a premier forum on international
cooperation and global governance, the G20 group should address more
major concerns of people in global development, such as climate
change and the widening gap between rich and poor, helping shape a
peaceful and hopeful future for the world.
Regarding global governance to meet the new changes, the
importance of China is increasing in many aspects, Messner said.
China was regarded as a powerful spokesman for global
multilateralism at the Hamburg summit, said Shada Islam, policy
director of Friends of Europe, a leading Brussels-based think tank.
At the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered an
important speech with proposals made urging efforts to continue
opening-up and inclusiveness as well as to push for
interconnectivity and growth.
Shi Shiwei, professor with the Free University of Berlin, said,
"Xi’s speech represents the stance of developing countries," and
"shows China is a firm advocate for globalization and
multilateralism, and it is braving more responsibilities in global
Xi’s speech, Shi said, stresses implementation of the UN 2030
agenda, insistence on sustainable and inclusive growth, integration
of economic and social policies and support for further
globalization while containing its ills.
Snower deems Xi’s proposals on G20 cooperation in the digital
economy and new industrial revolution as being "of great
importance," which requires the joint action of developed and
developing countries under the multilateral framework.
Thomas Heberer, a well-known China watcher from Duisburg-Essen
University, said Xi has assumed "the major role" of promoting a
cooperative and open world economy.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, chief of the Schiller Institute think tank
in Germany, said Xi’s speech made it clear that the China-proposed
Belt and Road Initiative is "highly compatible" with the G20 goal,
and was making the initiative’s core values such as win-win
cooperation and a community of shared destiny for mankind into new
principles of global governance.
"This is working," she said.
The Belt and Road Initiative aims to build infrastructure and
trade networks connecting Asia with Africa and Europe along the
ancient Silk Road trade routes in order to seek common development
The initiative, being the embodiment of China’s proposals,
carries cooperation plans for infrastructure construction, unimpeded
trade and capital flows, among others, Messner said.
This shows that as an economic power, China is shouldering its
leadership role, he said.