China playing key role in building institutions of ‘global governance 3.0’

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in Brasilia, Brazil, July 16, 2014. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

By Lin Hongyu

Chinese President Xi Jinping starts his visit to Santiago, Chile today after visiting other two Latin American countries, Ecuador and Peru. He also attended the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Lima, capital city of Peru during the tour. The visit can be viewed as China’s effort to promote globalization and new global governance after the G20 Hangzhou Summit.

The September 11 attacks in 2001 illustrated for the first time the dark side of globalization. The 2008 financial crisis has once again demonstrated the negative effect of economic globalization. The growing appeal of anti-globalization is gradually emerging, with some anti-globalization movements becoming increasingly influential in some Western nations.

Brexit and the strong support for US President-elect Donald Trump can well embody the trend. Instead of saying that globalization is facing major challenges, it might be better argued that globalization has come to a new historical starting point, which is a new era of globalization.

The new era is in need of new global governance — global governance 3.0, in which fresh mechanisms and concepts are the key factors.
The ratification of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 marked the beginning of global governance 1.0. At that time, new concepts such as negotiations, respecting each other’s borders and diplomatic immunity became global values to guide international relations. Unfortunately, global governance 1.0 failed to stop the world from falling into worldwide disputes and the two world wars in the 20th century.

The formation of the UN in 1945 was a sign that the world had entered global governance 2.0. Quasi-world government agencies such as the UN Security Council, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) and World Trade Organization (WTO) started to play crucial roles in global governance. Concepts including coordination among major powers, crisis management, trade balance and regional integration have been deeply rooted among people.

In the meantime, this mechanism has also accelerated the process of globalization, making the world more and more flat. Non-state organizations are having growing influence along with the emergence of non-traditional security threats. Under such circumstances, the first G20 Summit was held in Washington, marking the start of global governance 3.0

The biggest characteristic of global governance 3.0 in the new era of globalization is that the influence of Western countries is declining while emerging nations such as China are playing an increasingly vital role. The degree of coordination of global governance among all countries in the world as well as the benefits of such cooperation has hit an all-time high. Old mechanisms like the UN, IMF and WTO are still playing a part in today’s global governance, yet their innovation and efficiency are gradually exceeded by new mechanisms, namely G20, APEC, BRICS and AIIB. Obviously, China’s role in these mechanisms is of great significance, especially when the anti-globalization movement in the West is getting increasingly stronger.

Xi raised the proposal of speeding up the establishment of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) in the upcoming APEC meeting. The proposal was first put forward in the APEC Beijing Summit in 2014 to counter trade protectionism, which is a reaction to globalization. It is beneficial to APEC’s healthy development and will be a strong bulwark to the development of the new globalization process.

Apart from mechanisms, new governing concepts will also be critical to guarantee the success of new global governance. In this regard, China came up with the idea of joint development and common interests, which can be represented by the One Belt and One Road initiative. This concept raised a number of new global values including building a “community of common destiny for all.” These are improvements, supplements and innovations to the old concepts, which are mainly dominated by the West.

China is now constantly deepening its reforms and integrating into the international community. It firmly supports international trade liberalization and opposes trade protectionism. It backs opening-up, connectivity and tolerance while protesting seclusion, isolation and exclusion. It is promoting new global governance with real actions and will be a mainstay in the new era of globalization.

The author is dean of the College of International Relations, Huaqiao University.


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