THE MOST FROM THE COAST !

..


 Coastweek website


XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Leaders attending the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg | Coastweek
HAMBURG Germany (Xinhua) -- Leaders attending the Group of 20 summit and their spouses pose for a group photo in Hamburg, Germany. The 12th Summit of the Group of 20 major economies was held in Hamburg. XINHUA PHOTO - YAO DAWEI

Xinhua Commentary: New global scene calls for better world order

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 eyes.

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 into ashes."

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 own.

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 things.

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 propositions.

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 global governance.

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 all mankind.

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 modernization.

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 international relations.

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 said.

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 peacekeeping operations.

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 international relations.

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 several countries."

"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)
.

XINHUA SPOTLIGHT:

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 initiatives.

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 solutions.

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 G20 group.

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 governance."

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 and prosperity.

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.

             

 

Remember: you read it first at coastweek.com !


Diamond Trust Bank banner | Coastweek

 

TO ADVERTISE ON THIS WEB SITE:  www.coastweek.com
Please contact

MOMBASA - GULSHAN JIVRAJ, Mobile: 0722 775164 Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130 /
Wireless: 020 3549187 e-mail: info@coastweek.com

NAIROBI - ANJUM H. ASODIA, Mobile: 0733 775446 Tel: (+254) (020) 3744459
e-mail: anjum@asodia.co.ke

 
    © Coastweek Newspapers Limited               Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130  |  Wireless: 020 3549187  |  E-mail: info@coastweek.com