China must play a greater role in the Group of 20 (G20) arrangement and cooperate with other members of the grouping to minimize the impact of the worsening global financial crisis, a leading Beijing-based scholar has said.
Huang Ping, a sociologist by training, and head of the American Studies Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, one of the largest social research bodies in the country, made the comments to China Daily just days ahead of the G20 summit starting in London on April 2.
The country should, however, resist a tendency to believe that, with their size and wealth, only a partnership between China and the United States (or G2, as it has been nicknamed) was needed to decide on important world matters, Huang said.
"The so-called G2 is both unrealistic and problematic to fit in with the traditional Chinese value of a harmonious world," he explained.
"Once you start to go that way, how would the Japanese, Koreans, Russians, Indians and all our neighboring nations think of us?" he asked, adding that would not help in nurturing mutually accommodating relationships.
The Group of Seven (G7) arrangement is "obviously obsolete", the scholar said, referring to it only as a club for a rich minority. The G7, consisting of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, Canada and the United States, was formed in 1976.
In contrast, G20 allows for a greater diversity, in which the major developing countries of the world are represented, Huang, who has published pieces on historic transitions and global relations, pointed out.
"G7 is too old. G20 is good. And G2 should not be the direction," was how he summed up.
Be that as it may, the scholar said China and the US should work together on many bilateral and global programs, from coping with the global financial crisis to development of new energy and carbon emission reduction policies.
"It is not in anyone's interest," he said, "for the two countries to endlessly pick on each other."
Commenting on a G20 proposal to enlarge the capital reserves of the International Monetary Fund, Huang said any increase in China's contribution now looks inevitable. The move was proposed at the G20 financial decision-makers' conference last week in London.
At the same time, Huang said it would be impractical if China were to support the IMF's capital expansion plan single-handedly. "At least, before anyone has the guts to say the crisis has already bottomed out, China has to retain some of its ammunition," he said.
The country should also play a more constructive role in many other cooperative frameworks, including regional networks, Huang said. "For China, opening up to the world should mean: To seek a constructive role in both global and regional cooperation."
The financial crisis has also provided China with a wider choice in working with various regional partners, he pointed out.
(China Daily March 19, 2009)