By Su Xiaohui Source: Global Times
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
The 15th G20 summit will be held via video link from Saturday to Sunday. As the COVID-19 pandemic still rages across the world and many countries continue to suffer from the economic downturn, the theme of the summit is titled, “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All.”
In recent years, the G20’s concerns have been continuous. These include economic development, global governance and coping with unilateralism and protectionism. This year, the G20 will pay more attention to COVID-19’s impact on the world economy and international trade. It will also focus on how some developing countries and underdeveloped regions can survive in the context of the pandemic. In addition, some countries are facing debt problems and are caught in a dilemma. Similar issues will be very urgent.
This is not the first time that the G20 has responded to a world crisis. After the 2008 financial crisis, the G20 played a similar worldwide role. In March, an unprecedented G20 virtual summit was held to deal with the impact brought on by the outbreak of COVID-19.
Some analysts previously said that globalization, under the pandemic, will be dead. It is undeniable that the pandemic has indeed imposed some impact on globalization, including the international industrial chain. Some European and American countries have hyped that countries should not rely on external supplies for the sake of national security. The G20 has noticed such a trend. The contribution of the G20 proves the importance of multilateralism and can help stabilize the situation amid the current global crisis.
The successful convening of the G20 virtual summit in March shows that most countries are unwilling to give up hope on multilateralism. They still want to push the world toward unity as much as possible. With today’s complicated international situations and turbulent state of global governance, most countries still believe that globalization is important – that we are living in a community with a shared future for humanity. This is a very positive trend.
China has always played an essential role in the G20. China and other G20 members should shoulder responsibility when major crises happen. They should further make sure that the world is headed in a correct development direction, even when there is no crisis. For example, when the Trump administration began engaging in unilateralism and protectionism, China tried its best to prevent the G20 from becoming ineffective due to a certain country’s selfishness.
China is also willing to participate in specific acts. For example, China, for the first time, is participating in the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, and supporting the G20’s debt treatment framework for low-income countries. China has made timely adjustments in responding to such crises, and has been providing its solutions and wisdom.
But this is a period of the Trump administration’s “final madness,” and many people are concerned about the shadow casted by the US government on the G20. According to Japanese media outlet Kyodo News on Monday, the upcoming G20 leaders’ declaration may not express opposition to protectionism. Moreover, the summit will still be under the influence of the Trump administration.
If the US is unwilling to promote certain affairs or even deliberately obstruct them, then other countries will also be affected. This seems to be a very gloomy prospect. Considering the current political situation in the US, the Trump administration may vent their anger on multilateral issues. In terms of the global COVID-19 fight, especially, how can the world expect the US to contribute when it is even unable to help itself? Therefore, it can be basically determined that the US will play a negative role in the G20 at this time.
But this is not a failure of G20. After all, there are still 19 other responsible parties. Even if the G20 becomes “19+1,” the other 19 countries are still on the way to reach a consensus and show the world positive trends. Even if some positive factors are not included in the final outcome document, this does not mean the upcoming G20 will be a failed meeting. China, for one, will certainly play a positive role at the meeting.
In other words, countries around the world need to continue to look forward to the G20 as an important platform for global governance.
The author is deputy director of the Department for International and Strategic Studies, China Institute of International Studies. [email protected]