Protectionism and unilateralism have risen enormously around the world. Since last year, the US has initiated trade disputes, launched military strikes against Syria, and withdrew from several international agreements, causing damage to global governance and globalization. On the contrary, China has been making greater efforts to support multilateralism. What challenges will China meet in participating in global governance? The Global Times has collected the opinions of four experts who spoke at the forum Enhancing Global Governance for Mutual Benefit and Win-Win Cooperation at Peking University last week.
Jia Qingguo, dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University
China needs to attach importance on international multilateral cooperation more than ever because of the country's interests and development path of reform and opening-up.
It is hard for China, due to its size, to guarantee its own interests by taking a free ride. Instead, it must take the initiative to maintain international order. But a high price needs to be paid for maintaining the international order. To maintain the global order in an efficient way, China needs to participate in and lead international cooperation more proactively.
China faces many difficulties in participating in international cooperation. First, China is a rising country. It is a major power yet it is not a developed economy. So its identity and interests are paradoxical. China is simultaneously strong and weak, rich and poor, depending on which parts you see. Hence, China needs to protect developing countries' interests and also advocate energy conservation and emission reduction like a developed country.
Such complexity brings hurdles in participating in international cooperation.
Second, China is rising very quickly, but its mentality of being a weak nation has not yet changed. Many Chinese have not realized that ties between China and the world are not zero-sum, and they share a common future.
Third, China is lacking knowledge and talent in global governance and multilateral cooperation, and China's ability in leading international cooperation is far from meeting the demands placed on it.
To solve these problems, China should realize the complexity of its identity and interests, and manage them properly. As a big power, China cannot only see its current interests, but also needs to consider its future interests.
Wu Hongbo, president of China International Public Relations Association, former under-secretary-general of the United Nations
Currently, international society is going through tremendous changes and five trends need to be noticed. First, the international multilateral mechanism faces huge challenges. Second, economic globalization has been enormously damaged. Third, developing countries are transforming the global framework. Fourth, capitalism is in crisis. Fifth, protecting humanity's common future has become a global consensus.
China has benefited from the international order formed after World War II and is a proponent and contributor to world peace and development. China has participated in almost all intergovernmental organizations and over 400 multilateral agreements. It is playing an increasingly bigger role in global affairs. China has advocated that all countries build a better world together, made efforts to guarantee world peace and justice, promote South-South cooperation, boost global sustainable development and lead world development with Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach.
At present, the global governance system is at a crucial moment, which is going through transformation and reform. As a political and economic major power, China needs to contribute as follows: Promoting the reform of international organizations to adapt to the changes in the international situation; Leading world development with Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach; Realizing sustainable development and sharing successful development experience with the world; Deepening South-South cooperation, promoting the Belt and Road
initiative and participating in international affairs more proactively.
Yang Jiemian, chairman of Academic Affairs Council, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies
The ongoing efforts on global governance structures are unprecedented both in depth and width. Now the world sees the greatest-ever participation of both developed and developing nations, both state and non-state actors, and both the elites and the public.
At present there is a big gap between the needs in global governance and what we can do. It is a long-term effort for the entire international community to build up and further improve the relevant conditions, core principles, mechanisms, strategies and policies. China cannot do it alone. China needs to interact more frequently and constructively with other members of the international community. In particular, China should be more modest and anxious to learn from others. These great goals should and could be realized in phases and stages. In this regard, the international community needs to work at agreements on general principles as well as pragmatic efforts.
Guo Shuyong, dean of the School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Shanghai International Studies University
There have been several reasons for China to take on a leading role in global governance. The relative decline of the West and the rise of Asia provide China a chance to be a world economic leader. Meanwhile, the US is giving up its leadership in some fields because of its strategy. Last but not least, socialism with Chinese characteristics provides a political guarantee domestically for the nation's performance on the global arena.
Although China is a huge country with strong economic strength, the US remains No.1 in technology innovation, soft power as well as military strength. Washington still dominates in most global affairs. China's role in global governance is mainly in the area of economics.
Therefore, China needs to participate in cooperative leadership based on a new type of major-power relationship between China and the US with the coordination of global organizations, like the UN, G20
and BRICS. Guided by the principle of global governance, China will advocate for common values of the mankind, such as peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom.