The International Financial crisis 11 years ago wrecked the Western liberalism, and as one of its biggest after effect, economic globalisation is facing headwinds with rising populism & protectionism in developed countries.
Meanwhile, fast rising developing countries and their growing influence on the world economy are changing the global governance system, causing “superpower panic” for traditional Western major countries.
Besides, terrorist threats still linger on, tangled up in certain regions with religious and ethnic conflicts, provoking wars in which some Western powers never fail to pour oil over the flames.
“Our world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century,” Chinese President Xi Jinping has said. China, growing in such uncertainties, found challenges and opportunities equally unprecedented in a century.
At the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, President Xi said China stands ready to make concerted efforts with all other parties to uphold the concept of sustainable development, shoulder the responsibility of building a community with a shared future for mankind, advocate multilateralism and improve global governance, so as to promote long-lasting peace in the global village and create a more prosperous and beautiful world.
This is the path China has taken as the world is standing at a crossroads of history.
New Changes: Developing Countries Catching Up
The past century saw changes in international power distribution, with the rapid development of emerging-market economies and developing countries. Defying traditional stereotypes, Asia is becoming a new centre of the world. Africa is turning into a “continent of future,” and Latin America is aspiring to achieve self-modernisation.
However, the world’s “elite club” is facing division and disunity
This year’s Group of Seven Summit held in the French city of Biarritz ended up with no joint communique, despite efforts of members to narrow differences on such issues as trade and the Iran nuclear deal.
Last year in the Quebec summit in Canada, U.S. President Donald Trump put the group’s solidarity at risk by leaving early. In 2017, the summit in Italy ended with a stalemate over the Paris climate accord. Weeks later, Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement.
Meanwhile, the Group of 20, which expanded its agenda and started summitry in the throes of the financial crisis, has since made remarkable achievements in stabilizing the world economy and promoting global economic governance. Those who were once treated as “outsiders” and excluded by Western countries from the international labour division system are playing bigger roles in the world arena.
Calculated using the Atlas method, emerging-market economies and developing countries accounted for 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 and contributed around 80 percent of the global growth. In 10 years, their share of the world’s GDP could rise to 50 percent.
Also, figures from the United Nations show that the global population will reach 10 billion in 2050, with 8.5 billion from the current emerging-market economies and developing countries.
As President Xi has said, unprecedented inadaptation and asymmetry are emerging between the global governance system and the changes of the international situation, as emerging-market economies and developing countries are rising at an unprecedented high speed, and the new round of technological and industrial revolution is leading to unprecedentedly fierce competition.
The process of globalisation is no longer revved up only by developed countries. Emerging-market economies and developing countries have captured a tailwind of the fourth industrial revolution, marked by the development of artificial intelligence, clean energy, quantum information and biotechnology.
In this world of accelerating multi-polarisation, China, the biggest developing country, has shown leadership in the global economy. “When the history of the first half of the 21st century is written, it will be about China,” said Lawrence Summers, a U.S. economist and president emeritus of Harvard University
New Challenges: China Finds Opportunities
At the global governance forum co-hosted by China and France in Paris this March, President Xi noted: “four deficits” in global affairs, namely governance deficit, trust deficit, peace deficit and development deficit.
Observers have also warned that the rules-based multilateral system is at risk, and the world may “lose control of the wheeling” given the rising of power politics, unilateralism, protectionism, nationalism and populism.
Humanity is facing challenges as a whole, including global inequality, excess capacity brought by the technological revolution, and non-traditional security threats such as terrorism, cybersecurity, major diseases and climate change.
Meanwhile, some Western countries panicked as their traditional dominance fades.
The United States, with its “America-first” rhetoric, has been practising unilateralism and is damaging the international economic regime it helped established. It has initiated a trade war and imposed a technological blockade against China, a country deemed as a fast-growing “strategic challenger” by Washington.
China believes that promoting cooperation and seeking development is the strong will and determination of most countries, despite the trend of trade protectionism and anti-globalisation.
The voice of strengthening regional cooperation and promoting multilateralism prevails despite some certain country cutting itself loose from international treaties, and building up walls in the name of self-protection.
Turning external pressure into a powerful driving force, China is steadily advancing reform, expanding opening-up and upgrading consumption as major ways to stabilise its economy growth amid risks and downward pressure, and has maintained its momentum of high-quality economic growth.
The latest Global Innovation Index 2019 by the World Intellectual Property Organisation showed that China has jumped from 17th to 14th in the new list of nearly 130 nations, with media reports saying China’s continuing rise firmly establishes the country “in the group of leading innovative nations.”
New Hope: Common Development, Shared Future
China is committed to being a builder of the international community, not a destroyer, and being a bridge-builder rather than a trench-digger, President Xi has said. Globalisation is a historical trend, and China is one of the most determined champions and defenders of it.
The Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) has won applause and support from across the world. In April, the second Belt & Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing, reaching broad consensus and producing fruitful outcomes on the high-quality building of the Belt & Road.
The latest statistics show the total trade volume between China and the countries participating in the BRI was more than 6 trillion U.S. dollars in the 2013-2018 period, during which more than 244,000 jobs were created for the locals. China’s direct foreign investment in those countries has exceeded 90 billion dollars now.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, with its membership, almost doubled in three years of operation, is helping fill the huge funding gap for developing countries.
Since the start of its operation, the China-initiated global lending body has approved 46 projects worth 8.5 billion dollars in 18 members by July, including projects like improving urban infrastructure and services in Indonesia’s slums, and upgrading Bangladesh’s power system.
The China International Import Expo, successfully held last year and slated to stage its second edition in November, has become an attractive platform for companies worldwide and industry leaders to exhibit their latest products.
China is expanding its circle of friends under the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.
With the philosophy and vision of a shared future for humankind, China is inviting the world to join hands in building a more prosperous and beautiful world.