Roundtable takes on BRI's role in global governance

By Zhu Bochen
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, April 30, 2019
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Wanshou Roundtable 1: Multilateralism and Global Governance of the 28th Wanshou Forum, in Beijing on April 27, 2019. [Photo courtesy of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee]

As global challenges in peace-keeping, development and governance and trust intensify, the field of international relations is finding it necessary to make profound adjustments. China has been an active participant in multilateral cooperation, most notably through APEC, G20 and BRICS, yet interpretations of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) vary in view of China's involvement in global governance, which gave rise to a heated discussion at a roundtable in Beijing last Saturday.

The Wanshou Roundtable, a special session of the 28th Wanshou Forum co-hosted by the International Department of the CPC Central Committee and Tsinghua University, had the theme of "Multilateralism and Global Governance." Officials and experts attending the 2nd Belt and Road Forum last week were invited to participate.

During the roundtable, questions were raised about whether China intends to lead the reform of global multilateralism through the BRI.

He Changchui, executive president of the Academy of Digital China and former deputy director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, addressed this question: "The BRI can restore, or at least help the world to restore, faith in multilateralism and global governance."

"The whole idea of BRI is based on the principle of seeking shared benefits through extensive consultation and joint contribution, by which every participant country can get involved and feel the achievement," He added. He also noted that China's concept of a human community with a shared future dovetailed with the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals, which could contribute to the improvement of global governance.

Furthering the discussion, Zhang Feng, vice dean of the Department of International Relations at Australian National University, pointed out the BRI's vision of seeking common ground while setting aside differences.

"The mission of BRI is to narrow down differences and to expand the intersection between East and West regarding how to practice global governance. However, this requires continuous self-improvement of the BRI," Zhang said, appealing for a responsible, moral, moderate, and systematic approach to the BRI.

"The BRI should be responsible both to China and to the international community. It should contribute to balanced development of the domestic economy, and meanwhile, it must ensure fiscal sustainability in countries along its route. The so-called 'debt trap' doesn't exist, but the debt problems resulting from unsustainable development policy must be handled properly."

Zhang further recognized the institutional improvement of the BRI signaled by China's endorsement of the Guiding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Road.

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