New era calls for a new lead role for G-20

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Wang Yi

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the global financial crisis. Ten years ago, the financial meltdown that started from Wall Street in New York plunged global markets and the international community into deep panic. At that critical juncture, leaders of the 20 largest economies representing over 80 per cent of global output came together. Through equal dialogue and coordinated actions, they brought the world economy which was rapidly sliding to the brink back to the track of stability and growth, and that represented the start of the G-20 Summit.
Over the past decade, G-20 leaders have been meeting regularly to steer the world economy. From stabilising the market and restoring confidence to promoting reforms and addressing future challenges, the G-20, as the premier forum for international economic cooperation, has played a leading role in all different aspects of global economic governance. Nevertheless, as we gradually put the global financial crisis behind, some people seem to get the impression that G-20 cooperation is no longer urgent. Some even begin to question the relevance and future of the mechanism.
Is it true that the G-20 has accomplished its historical mission and become less important? The answer is no. The world is suffering from economic shocks brought about by rising unilateralism and protectionism, and the developing countries are increasingly affected by the negative spillovers of shifting monetary policies of the developed economies. Fundamental challenges facing the global economy, including insufficient drivers of growth, inadequate global economic governance and unbalanced development are yet to be effectively resolved. Moreover, economic and trade tensions are spreading rapidly to the political and security fields, which is not good news for world peace and stability.
A new decade calls for new leadership from the G-20.
The G-20 must demonstrate leadership in upholding multilateralism. Multilateralism has proven to be an effective means for improving global governance, tackling common challenges and achieving collective development. The multilateral trading regime with the World Trade Organisation at its core, a key component of multilateralism, should be strengthened rather than weakened. Reform of the WTO is an important G-20 agenda. China agrees with necessary reforms of the WTO. Meanwhile, we hold that the core values and basic principles of the WTO should be upheld, and the development space of developing countries must be respected and preserved.
The G-20 must demonstrate leadership in advancing reform. The G-20 has introduced a host of reforms aiming at improving global economic governance. We must continue our efforts to implement the roadmap for reforming the international financial system and increase the representation and voice of developing countries, thus creating a new international financial order that is equitable, fair, inclusive and rules-based.
The G-20 must demonstrate leadership in supporting innovation. It is time that the G-20 seize the opportunities of the new scientific and technological revolution, and advance cooperation to apply new technologies, harness the digital economy and promote jobs for the future. At the same time, the G-20 needs to be mindful of the side effects and negative impacts of new technologies on the economy, the society and people’s life, and help the world economy achieve growth of higher quality.
The G-20 must demonstrate leadership in promoting development. It needs to actively implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, strengthen infrastructure connectivity, help developing countries accelerate development and protect their legitimate rights and policy space so that no one is left behind.
Such leadership requires a spirit of partnership among G-20 members. The coming G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires will be closely watched worldwide as it explores new ways to advance international economic cooperation under new circumstances. China is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its reform and opening up this year. We will remain a staunch supporter, defender and contributor to multilateralism and to an open world economy. We are ready to step up cooperation with all parties to boost confidence in the world economy and contribute our share to common development.
The three service chiefs should be tasked with keeping their forces trained, provisioned and equipped to be made available to the theatre commands, as and when the political and military situations so demand it. In the American military, theatre commands are more paper commands with a contingency planning staff till operationalised. They are constantly preparing for eventualities with integrated planning and exercises. It is the same with China’s People’s Liberation Army now, with the Chinese military organised into five commands, including one headquartered at Chengdu just for us.
The need for integrated defence planning and operations need not be elaborated upon. It would suffice to say that every major military power in the world has a combined defence organisation. It’s only in countries where the services have a strong political tradition that separateness still prevails. In some countries these rivalries extend to ridiculous extents. In Argentina, the Navy is equipped with tanks, as it needs them to ward off possible Army assaults on its bases. Things are not so bad in India, but the rivalry between the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force has about the same keenness as the IAS-IPS rivalry.
Somebody is bound to distort this to suggest that a CDS or a commander-in-chief will undercut the authority of the President of India, who is the supreme commander of all the armed forces. This is sheer nonsense but it has to be dealt with as the argument has been made before to prevent the creation of a CDS. The President will be as presidential as ever before and all acts of the government, including the waging of war, will be done in his name. He will continue to be greeted by the chiefs personally on his birthday, except that instead of three of them there would be four calling on him, or better still just one!