China ‘working on economic growth initiative’ for G20 leaders’ summit
But Beijing makes it clear that it does not want ‘political issues’ discussed – such as the South China Sea disputes
China will propose a joint initiative to revive weak global growth at next month’s G20 leaders’ meeting amid rising protectionist sentiment in the United States and Europe, officials said on Monday.
Speaking at a news conference, a senior Chinese diplomat made clear that Beijing wants the September 4-5 gathering of leaders of the Group of 20 major economies to avoid political issues such as its territorial disputes with its neighbours in the South China Sea.
The meeting in the eastern city of Hangzhou comes as an unusually weak global economic recovery is helping to fuel the popularity of US and European political movements that advocate protection for local industries.
Details of Beijing’s proposal still are being worked out but will include reforms aimed at strengthening the global financial system and promoting technological innovation, Chinese finance and foreign affairs officials said.
They gave no indication that it might include an economic stimulus. Some investors have expected such a measure but officials at two previous G20 gatherings this year said the timing was wrong, because individual economies faced different conditions and needed to take actions tailored to their own needs.
The proposal will stress “inclusive growth” to spread economic benefits widely and shore up support for free trade, deputy finance minister Zhu Guangya said. He said governments should be on “high alert” to “anti-globalisation” sentiments.
“If the people cannot feel the benefits, then this sort of development cannot truly improve people’s lives, and people will have mixed feelings about such development,” Zhu said.
Deputy foreign minister Li Baoding made clear that China wants to avoid sensitive diplomatic issues.
The consensus among members is to “focus on economic development and not be distracted by other parties,” Li said when asked about territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
“The Hangzhou summit must focus on economic issues,” Li said. “This is what people want to talk about most at the summit.”
Li gave similar responses to questions about China’s resolute opposition to South Korea’s deployment of an advanced US missile defence system.