G20 special summit an opportunity to showcase China’s responsibility

By Li Aixin and Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/25 12:58:40

Photo: IC

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend a special Group of 20 (G20) leaders' video summit on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday in Beijing, with experts expecting China to play a constructive role in mobilizing more countries to work together to fight the pandemic and deal with the coming economic recession, as it did in the 2008-09 financial crisis.

The video summit will be hosted by Saudi Arabia, the host of the G20 presidency in 2020. Saudi Arabia's King swill chair an emergency virtual summit. World leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, will take part in the summit. 

Some analysts believe that the world will confront the biggest economic crisis since the end of WWII due to COVID-19's severe impact, not only on public health systems, but also on economic and social activities across the globe.

The G20 played a critical role in the global response to the 2008-09 financial crisis and can play a key role in coordinating a global response to this pandemic, in terms of policies, pooling resources and mobilizing medical equipment, Robert A. Manning, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told the Global Times.

The G20, representing more than 80 percent of the world economy and population is the closest to a representative institution that can fairly set a global agenda to address these problems, said Manning. 

"China has secured a phased victory in epidemic prevention and control, but the battle for the world has just started," Xu Liang, associate professor at the School of International Relations, Beijing International Studies University, and a visiting scholar at the University of Iowa, told Global Times.

"If the world cannot achieve a decisive victory in the fight against the pandemic, China's achievement will hardly be consolidated for long," said Xu.

So far, US President Trump has shown no interested in leading a global effort, preferring an America First response, said observers, adding that China will proactively shoulder its global responsibility, sharing its experience of epidemic prevention and control amid the gradual resumption of economic activities with the world.

But experts also noted countries should not rely on just one member to singlehandedly solve the crisis.

Although the virus has gradually been brought under control in China, it still needs time to get its production and economy back on track, said Shen Yi, associate professor of international politics at Fudan University in Shanghai, suggesting other countries should not morally coerce China into offering something beyond its ability while contributing very little in terms of virus prevention.

There will be negotiations to avoid infighting among countries over guarantees of supply flows of materials, which are urgently needed in many countries, Shen told Global Times.

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