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Sep 27 2013
China’s Views and Practices: G20 & Global Governance
On September 25-27, 2013, I had the opportunities to have three sideline meetings with some international participants to the conference entitled The G20 at Five: “New Model of Major Power Relationship” and the G20.  This conference was held in Shanghai and co-sponsored by the Shanghai Institutes for international Studies, the Stanley Foundation, Munk School of Global Affairs of the University of Toronto. All of the three meetings focused on China’s views and practice towards G-20 and global governance.

Most of the interlocutors point out that China has always supported multilateralism and played an active and positive role in the forming and progresses of the G20. But they also stress the following three aspects.

Firstly, China needs to be more proactive to present its views and visions on the future development of G20 so as to avoid the possible downslides of G20’s importance. Now the world should heighten their alert that the member states are paying less attention and importance to the preparation of G20 and making less effort to implement its decisions.

Secondly, China should think twice about the role of the BRICS. The BRICS’s only common feature at the G20 is to increase their representation. In reality, the BRICS trade among themselves less with the others. If this trend continues, the BRICS will gradually fade away.

Thirdly, China should maintain its position on the healthy relations between BRICS and G7 within the G20. That is to say, BRICS and G7 should not become opposing blocs within the G20.

On global governance, the interlocutors discussed the following five topics.

Firstly, it is about the leadership. Some hold that China is already No. Two in the world and should take up more relevant responsibilities and provide more public goods in the world. However, some others think that in fact China is not a global power but a middle power. China should not be expected to play a leadership role in the world. Instead, China’s leadership role is mainly in the economic field. What is more, there is a big gap between what China prepares to do and what the outside world wants China to do.

Secondly, China should play a more active role at the WTO. In the developing group, China is more capable than India or Brazil and should re-energize the Doha Round. But some others think that since the WTO is already dead, China should take the lead to announce its demise and pronounce the birth of new institution.

Thirdly, many suggested that China should do a better job in regional governance in order to walk out of the current stalemate of the global institution building and working. In 2014 China will host the APEC summit. As a matter of fact, the APEC has already become an incubator for new ideas, which will directly and indirectly help the WTO and others. Therefore, China should make all possible efforts in strengthening regional governance and take it as a stepping stone for better and more effective global governance.

When comes to what China should and could do in the next five years, some of the recommendations are as follows:

Firstly, China should not only put forward grand visions but also work out concrete and feasible roadmaps of global governance. On the latter, it might be a good idea that China could form issue-focused coalition to promote the relevant progress of global governance. More importantly, China should fully understand the meaning of leadership by example. China must do more in producing public goods to the world and the region.

Secondly, China has an opportunity for the next five years to mutually reinforce domestic economic reform and G20 reform. The G20 theme of strong, sustainable and balanced development can also be objectives for China’s economy. China is currently strengthening its domestic demand, rebalancing the economy and develops a new mode of growth, which will be good for G20 as well.

Thirdly, the Sino-U.S. relationship plays an important role in global governance. It is strongly suggested that the Chinese new leadership should show more resolve and will to improve this important bilateral relationship and put more substances to the so-called new relationship between China and the United States.

Fourthly, China needs to further improve its relations with ASEAN and Japan as far as the regional governance is concerned. China needs take all the measures to prevent those maritime disputes from out of control. Besides, China could learn something from the Russia-U.S. handling of Syrian crisis for its coping with the crisis in Korean Peninsula.

Last but not least, China needs to strive for domestic consensus on China’s role in global governance.

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