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NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON GLOBAL LEADERSHIP SOUNDINGS SERIES NO. 7:Los Cabos G20 Summit

China

Yanbing Zhang and Lan Xue

Generally speaking, there were not very many reports on the Los Cabos G20 Summit in the Chinese media. It seems the Chinese media’s enthusiasm for G20 summits is gradually in decline, which could be for two reasons. First, China had quite high expectations for G20 summits when they were started in 2008-2009, but it is now realized that, for various reasons, it is very difficult for the G20 to produce tangible outcomes on major global issues. Second, people’s attention in China is dominated by domestic issues and not as many people are paying enough attention to China’s role in global governance. The Los Cabos G20 Summit has, however, been largely portrayed as a success by the Chinese media, since it produced a lot of positive results.

Euro Crisis

It was reported that dealing with the euro crisis was an important issue for the Los Cabos G20 Summit, but it was certainly not the only issue. From Chinese President Hu Jintao’s speech and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi’s interview with the media, we can clearly see that China certainly tries to offer help to European countries that have debt problems, but China has several other concerns. These include how to stimulate global economic recovery, how to reform the international financial system, how to protect a global free trade system, how to deal with development issues and how to promote global green development.

It has also been reported that China has made a significant contribution to IMF reform by pledging US$43 billion to the Fund in order to increase its capacity to deal with financial crises.

Financial Regulatory Reform

The FSB report on the progress of financial regulatory reform did not really receive any attention. In his speech at the summit, President Hu Jintao did not mention this report and, as far as financial issues were concerned, mainly talked about how to reform the IMF and international monetary system.

Green Growth

Green growth did receive attention and visibility in China. Green growth, or sustainable development, has been portrayed as one of the most important issues at this year’s summit. It has been mainly understood as an economic development issue here.

Other Issues

The Chinese media’s reports on the Mexico G20 summit were mainly around President Hu Jintao’s activities there. From these reports, it was quite clear that G20 summits have become an important platform for China to develop its diplomatic relationships with other G20 countries. Besides the report on the summit, there were also detailed reports about President Hu’s meeting with BRICS countries’ leaders and his meetings with leaders of the United States, Germany, Mexico and other countries. These reports seemed to indicate that G20 summits should not be simply viewed as an institution of global governance. They could also play other unintended functions, which the original designers had not imagined. For example, these summits have facilitated the rise of BRICS as a new multilateral group in the post-global financial crisis era.

Lan Xue is a professor in and dean of the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Yanbing Zhang is assistant professor in the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University.

Please click here for NPGL Los Cabos overviews contributed by 12 countries.