International Department of the CPC Central Committee       BEIJING REVIEW
Thursday, August 3, 2017       MONTHLY
Growing role
By An Gang 

 

 

World leaders and their spouses pose for a group photo in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7 (XINHUA)

Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the Group of 20 (G20) Summit hosted by Germany in Hamburg on July 7-8.

In his keynote speech on July 7, Xi called for concerted efforts in fostering new drivers for growth, promoting a more inclusive growth and improving global economic governance. "We must remain committed to openness and mutual benefit for all so as to increase the size of the global economic 'pie'," said Xi.

His attendance contributed to maintaining and advancing the group's cooperation, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on July 8.

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7 (XINHUA)

Before attending the G20 Summit, Xi paid state visits to Russia and Germany. During Xi's stay in Moscow, Xi and Putin had a meeting for the third time this year. The two leaders signed a joint statement on further deepening the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination and another joint statement on the current world situation and major international issues. They also ratified the 2017-20 implementation guidelines for the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation.

During the visit, China and Russia also reached agreements on trade, agriculture, energy, infrastructure, finance, media and people-to-people exchanges.

On the sidelines of the Hamburg Summit, Xi hosted an informal meeting of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) leaders to prepare for the BRICS Summit to be held in September in southeast China's Xiamen City. At the meeting, the BRICS leaders underlined the importance of an open and inclusive multilateral trade system based on transparent and non-discriminatory rules. The five leaders called on the international community to implement the Paris Agreement and fulfill the commitment to providing developing countries with funds and technology to help them deal with climate change.

During his meeting with Merkel in Berlin, Xi said China is the world's second largest economy and Germany is its fourth, and they are also two stabilizing forces with major influence in Asia and Europe.

Xi proposed that Beijing and Berlin step up coordination and cooperation at the China-EU level as well as within international organizations and multilateral frameworks such as the UN and the G20.

Xi stated that a stronger China-Germany comprehensive strategic partnership serves both sides' fundamental interests and can help promote the development of China-EU relations and add more stability and predictability to the world.

China and Germany have vast potential to cooperate in terms of hi-tech research, manufacturing and third-party markets. In May, during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Germany, China and Germany signed more than 20 bilateral cooperation deals and pledged to advance economic globalization, free trade and investment as well as tackle the climate change challenge.

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping hosts an informal leaders' meeting of BRICS--attended by South African President Jacob Zuma, Brazilian President Michel Temer, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi--in Hamburg on July 7 (XINHUA)

Coordination

On July 8, Xi and Trump met to discuss bilateral ties and global hotspot issues on the sidelines of the Hamburg Summit.

Xi said to Trump that the two countries have made progress in bilateral cooperation in many fields since their first meeting in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, earlier this year, despite some sensitive issues. Xi urged joint effort to keep bilateral ties on track and coordination in international affairs.

During Xi's trip to the U.S. in April, he and Trump established a close communication mechanism and further developed China-U.S. dialogues. Since their first meeting, the two leaders have talked frequently via a hotline linking Beijing and Washington.

Stable dialogue and close high-level communication are undoubtedly helpful to promote mutual trust and cooperation between China and the United States.

Over the past months, China and the United States have achieved a number of successful outcomes. The two sides held the first round of their diplomatic and security dialogue in Washington, D.C. on June 21. In addition, China has taken steps to implement the 100-day plan that the two sides reached at the Mar-a-Lago meeting to avert a trade war. China has resumed beef imports from the United States.

However, the two countries have not made substantial progress on the Korean Peninsula issue, on which the Trump administration often pressures China. In late June, the U.S. Government announced a $1.42-billion arms sale to Taiwan authorities, irritating Beijing and making the cross-straits relationship more strained. Furthermore, U.S. military vessels and airplanes intruded in China's territorial waters and airspace of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, stoking tension in the region.

In the next phase, China and the United States must exercise self-restraint and avoid conflicts. Uncertainty remains as Beijing and Washington encounter political obstacles over the Korean Peninsula, trade, Taiwan, and South China Sea issues. Many are wondering about the sustainability of the high-level working relationship between the two leaders.

The United States is trying to build a defense alliance with Japan, Australia and India in the West Pacific Ocean around China, which serves to add tension in the region and is detrimental to bilateral cooperation. Under such circumstances, China is seeking to expand partnership with other major powers in the region and maintain leeway in dealing with the United States.

The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue will affect Trump's policy on China in the future. He has always argued for a greater role by China, even though it is in effect an issue between Pyongyang and Washington. On July 8, while meeting Xi in Hamburg, Trump said, "as far as North Korea is concerned, we will have, eventually, success. It may take longer than I'd like. It may take longer than you'd like. But there will be success in the end, one way or the other."

The United States is seeking to reduce its presence in issues of global importance and is increasingly turning inwards. No country or region, neither the United States, the EU, Russia nor China, can deal with global challenges alone. All parties must enhance coordination and collaboration.

The author is an op-ed contributor to Beijing Review and a researcher at the Pangoal Institution

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