G20 declaration dispels clouds, highlights value of seeking common ground while reserving differences: Global Times editorial
Published: Nov 17, 2022 12:31 AM

Photo: Xinhua

Photo: Xinhua

The 17th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit concluded on Wednesday. The summit approved the "G20 Bali Leaders' Declaration." This is a hard-won achievement. Due to the current complicated international situation with growing divergences and turbulence, many analysts had predicted that the summit may not be able to adopt a joint declaration like previous G20 summits. It was reported that Indonesia, the G20 chair, had prepared a plan B. However, the leaders of participating countries handled their differences with a pragmatic and flexible attitude, sought cooperation from a higher position and with a greater sense of responsibility, and finally reached a series of important consensus. 

We saw that the spirit of seeking common ground while reserving differences once again played a leading role at a critical moment in human development. In 1955, then Chinese premier Zhou Enlai participated in Bandung Conference in Indonesia and put forward the principle of seeking common ground while reserving differences. 

The Bandung Conference, which implemented the principle, became a milestone in world history. From Bandung Conference to Bali summit, over half a century has passed.  In today's era of diversification and multi-polarization, the practical significance of seeking common ground while reserving differences has become more prominent, which has become the guiding principle in dealing with bilateral relations and resolving global issues.

Some have called the G20 summit "an emergency rescue of the global economy under the threat of recession." If viewed in this light, participating leaders' reiterated commitments on cooperation to address global economic challenges undoubtedly showed that it was a successful summit. 

The declaration is a sign of the summit's success. It has injected confidence to the international community in resolving the sluggish global economy and other global issues. We should give Indonesia a thumbs up for a job well done. 

Most American and Western public opinions are focusing on the relevant expressions of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the declaration. Some American media claimed that "it's a major victory for the United States and its allies." We have to say, this is not a one-sided interpretation, but a completely wrong one. It misleads the international attention, disappoint, and disrespect multilateral efforts of this G20 summit. Apparently, the media which put their stance as priority often fail to recognize what's important, or deliberately confuse the public. 

The declaration, at the very beginning, articulated that the G20 is the premier forum for global economic cooperation, "not the forum to resolve security issues." It stated that "collectively we carry responsibilities and that our cooperation was necessary to global economic recovery, to tackle global challenges, and lay a foundation for strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth."

The summit held a large number of professional and pragmatic discussions on topics including the pandemic, climate and ecology, digital transformation, energy and food, finance, debt reduction, multilateral trading system and supply chain. The importance of cooperation was also emphasized in various fields. These contents are the key points. It needs to be added that China's position on the Ukraine issue is consistent, clear and unchanged.

When the Chinese people read this declaration, they will see a lot of familiar words and expressions, such as putting people at the center of preparedness in dealing with the epidemic, living in harmony with nature, and the reaffirmation of the commitment to zero tolerance for corruption, etc. The declaration also mentioned the initiative of the "Hangzhou summit." These Chinese ideas and wisdom show China's contribution to the G20 multilateral mechanism. 

Generally speaking, the G20 has played its core function as a platform for global economic coordination, and multilateralism has been emphasized. This is the result that China hopes to see and strives to promote. It is a victory for multilateralism and win-win cooperation.

However, these victories are preliminary and depend on how they are implemented. People hold high expectations on the G20 because it is not a "talk shop," but an "action team." It should be noted that the foundation of current international cooperation is still fragile, and the flame of cooperation still needs to be carefully cared for. The conclusion of the summit should be the beginning of fulfilling the commitments for all countries. In line with the specific directions pointed out in the declaration, more practical actions should be taken to strive for greater results. Major powers should particularly play a leading role, and inject more confidence and strength into the world.

During the G20 summit, a Russian-made missile landed outside a Polish village near the Ukrainian border, killing two people. The incident raised concerns about an escalation of the conflict and interference with the G20 agenda. However, relevant countries responded rationally and calmly, and the summit concluded smoothly. This incident reminds the world once again of the preciousness of peace and development, and that the consensus reached at the Bali summit is of great significance to mankind's pursuit of peace and development.