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China’s Answer to the Question of the Times

China's Answer to the Question of the Times

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Chen Xiaodong

From November 15 to 16, the 17th G20 Summit, regarded as the“premier forum for international economic cooperation”, was held in Bali, Indonesia, marking another “top-level design moment” for the global economic governance system.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the summit upon invitation, drawing worldwide attention as it is the first overseas visit by China's top leader since the 20th CPC National Congress.

Right now, our world is facing drastic changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century. Meanwhile, geopolitical conflicts are compounded by a weak economic recovery. Human society has once again come to an important crossroads. The world is eagerly looking forward to China's answer to the current development challenges.

In his remarks at the G20 Summit, President Xi Jinping addressed the question of the times: “What's wrong with the world, what should we do?”, elaborating China's observations, proposing China’s philosophy, contributing China’s solutions and mapping a path of hope to achieve a common global vision.

China's observations. Ancient Chinese teachings tell us that “men of insight see the trend, while men of wisdom ride it”. To address the challenges of the century, we should stand high and not allow ourselves to be distracted by fleeting clouds, and make a clear and accurate assessment on the current situation.

As President Xi pointed out, we are living at a time of momentous changes unseen in a century, changes that are consequential to the world, to our times, and to history. The COVID-19 pandemic still drags on with cases surging here and there. The world economy is getting more fragile. The geopolitical environment remains tense. Global governance is seriously inadequate. Various crises are compounded with one another.

All this poses formidable challenges to our development. President Xi went on to say that food and energy security is the most pressing challenge in global development. The root cause of the ongoing crises is not production or demand, but interrupted supply chains and international cooperation. His insightful and accurate assessment on the current international situation and challenges fully reflects the global vision of the President of China as a major country that is committed to the common good of the world, while pointing out the direction of how we should respond.

China’s philosophy. The theme of the G20 Bali Summit is “Recover Together, Recover Stronger”. Development is the most crucial driving force for economic recovery. President Xi put forward China’s philosophy on global development with three key words.

First, inclusiveness. President Xi noted that solidarity is strength, but division leads nowhere. Countries should respect each other, seek common grounds while reserving differences, live together in peace, and promote an open world economy. No one should engage in beggar-thy-neighbour practices, building “a small yard with high fences”, or creating closed and exclusive clubs.

Second, universal benefits. President Xi emphasized that development is real only when all countries develop together. Prosperity and stability cannot be possible in a world where the rich become richer while the poor are made poorer. Frontrunners in development should sincerely help others develop, and provide more global public goods. All major countries should perform their due responsibilities, and do their best for the cause of global development.

Third, resilience. President Xi said that it is more imperative than ever for us to focus on the issue of development. We need to build a global partnership for economic recovery, prioritize development and put the people at the center, always keep in mind the difficulties faced by developing countries, and accommodate their concerns in international cooperation against COVID-19, containment of global inflation as well as debt reduction and suspension.

Developing countries face more acute risks in food and energy security. The G20 should keep this in mind, and provide necessary support in production, collection, storage, funding and technology.

China’s solutions. Peace and development are the common cause of people around the world, and the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative are the solutions that China has proposed for the global response to development and security challenges. President Xi reiterated that the Global Development Initiative is aimed at meeting the long-term objective and immediate needs of common development of the world, fostering international consensus on promoting development, cultivating new drivers for global development, and facilitating common development and progress of all countries. China has established the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund, and will increase its funding for the China-UN Peace and Development Fund.

We will make a list of items for practical cooperation, set up an open-ended pool of GDI projects, and draw up a roadmap for GDI implementation. We are working with 100-plus countries and international organizations on the GDI, thus providing new impetus for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Adding that global trade, digital economy, green transition and fighting corruption are key factors driving global development, President Xi put forward a series of concrete measures to promote practical cooperation in relevant areas.

The goal of the Global Security Initiative is to champion the spirit of the UN Charter, act on the principle of indivisible security, uphold the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, advocate the resolution of conflicts through negotiation and settlement of disputes through consultation, and support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises, so as to create a peaceful and stable international environment for global development.

Having embarked on a new journey, China will stay committed to the path of peaceful development, stay committed to deepening reform and opening-up, and stay committed to promoting national rejuvenation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization.

A China marching toward modernization will definitely bring more opportunities to the world. South Africa, being the only African country in the G20 and a major member of the BRICS and other South-South cooperation mechanisms, plays an important role in international and regional affairs.

China and South Africa, both being developing countries, share similar views on addressing the global energy and food crisis, establishing a multilateral trading system, energy transition, tackling climate change and resolving conflicts, and hold the same position on the African Union's accession to the G20.

Together, we have made important contributions to maintaining global economic governance in the right direction.

During the G20 Bali Summit, President Xi and President Ramaphosa held a bilateral meeting and reached broad consensus, which is of great significance to leading the cooperation among developing countries, especially China-Africa cooperation. China is ready to work with South Africa to speed up the implementation of the consensus reached by the two heads of state, deepen coordination and cooperation under the G20, BRICS, the United Nations and other multilateral mechanisms, inject new impetus into the building of China-South Africa and China-

Africa community with a shared future, and jointly safeguard international fairness and justice as well as the interests of developing countries.

By Chen Xiaodong, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to South Africa.

Original Article

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