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Taking the Global Responsibility - The G-20 Summit and China.

Byline: Touheed Fatima and Wang Li

Although China is the world's second largest economy in terms of GDP, it is still a developing country or the most developed one among the developing countries of the world in terms of GDP per capital and technological innovation. However, it was during September 4-5, 2016 that the leaders of the G-20 states and the heads of international organizations and the invited guests came to the historically scenic city of Hangzhou, where they discussed the key issues involving global financial stability and economic growth. It was the first ever G20 summit to be hosted in China; given this, from the magnificent gala to the highlights of the summit where President Xi Jin-ping took the presidency, China deliberately presented its power and culture to the audience and media all over the world. It is self-evident that China has lost no time in taking the global responsibility in terms of its rapid growing power.

The G-20 is known as the annual summit for the heads of states and governors of central banks from 20 major economies. As one of the key results of globalization, it was founded in 1999 with the aim of studying, reviewing, and promoting high-level discussion of policy issues that obviously go beyond the responsibility of any of the organizations. The G-20 heads of state have periodically conferred at summits since their initial meeting in 2008. Though the G20's primary focus is global economic governance, the themes of its summits vary from year to year. For example, the significance of the G-20 summit in Hangzhou has marked the positive changes on its agenda in view of rescuing the G-20 as a more respected and efficient global steering committee. For China, knowing the importance and magnitude of the group, it has worked dedicatedly to play that role by presiding over the G-20 summit.

In the first place, on the eve of the summit, President Xi Jin-ping and Obama announced the ratification of the Paris Agreement of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference by their countries, which is significant since the two powers represent respectively 18% and 20% of global carbon dioxide emissions that are seen as the driving force behind global warming. Equally, failed efforts, centered in the United Nations, to allocate responsibility have led to a milieu the global governance of climate change must appeal to the effectiveness of the summit alternative grounded in the G20. It assures that China gets on the global governance stage as one of its main actors; and an effective global climate change control regime for the twenty-first century requires the two powers to share more responsibilities in the dynamics behind governance processes.

Next, China has as usual approached seriously the issues affecting the world economy. Since it is a pivotal year not only for the G-20 members, but also for China as well, the leadership has signaled that the G-20 is a key priority on Chinese foreign policy agenda. To that end, China has put an emphasis on consulting widely and thinking deeply, and put forward a broad agenda. At the summit, President Xi Jin- ping insisted that G-20 members should draw up action plans in multiple fields, including sustainable development, green finance, energy efficiency and anti- corruption, and China should be delighted to implement each of them seriously. The leaders of G-20 members vowed at the meeting to find workable solutions to restore strong growth and achieve more inclusive development that aims to reduce inequality. To that end, the Hangzhou summit is also set to embrace the vision of a global community with a shared destiny, enhance economic connectivity and exchange.

As Yale university scholar Stephen Roach said, "World economic growth still needs "Made in China".

Regarding the G-20 group, although it is large enough to capture a big enough share of the global economy, population and trade, it is small enough to facilitate agreement on key issues. Therefore, it is informal and has two very clear mandates - financial stability and economic growth. As China has made significant progress in economic governance, a lot of people are sure looking to see what kind of leadership role that China would like to take after the Hangzhou summit. Given this, China this year invited the largest number of developing countries ever to attend G-20 activities. By inviting developing countries, the Chinese government gives them a voice, which is a good token that China acts between the developed countries and the developing ones. Decisions made by the G-20 will impact on them as well. In view of the chaotic reality in the world, the G-20 summit at Hangzhou is deemed as the best hope for rescuing the G-20 as a respect and effective global steering committee.

Over the past five years, the record of the G-20 for evolving into irrelevance has been discouraging, due to this, China has demonstrated its capacity and determination to rebuild up its image as an effective organ rather than a talking shop only. It is argued that leadership will not come from an inward looking and politically stalemated United States or from a European union consumed by Brexit, the euro crisis and the flood of migrants and refugees. But there is no alternative to the G-20 for effective global crisis management or a steering committee. The only hope is that China, exploiting its ingenuity, can provide the necessary leadership.

As it is always said that the future is bright, but the road is tortuous. It is evident that in order, for it, to become the world's main forum on global governance, many other adjustments will have to be made. In this perspective, China will use all its economic and diplomatic might for achieving these goals. As Chinese president himself insisted on outlining, the G-20 does not have a strategic vision. May we be able to acknowledge that it is not that simple, due to the fact that it will be necessary to conciliate strategic interests that may be mostly divergent from each other, be it at the international level and of corporative economic interests, or at a deeper stage, in which there are world civilization visions. Though difficult, it still deserves for China to make an attempt in view of building a more peaceful and prosperous world order.
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Publication:The Diplomatic Insight
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Sep 30, 2016
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