Editor's note: The rapid development of the emerging market economies, represented by China, has gradually become a major driving force behind global economic growth. China's further participation in global economic governance will benefit the development of the world economy. Given Sha Zhukang's 40-year diplomatic career and his position as the U.N. under-secretary-General for economic and social affairs, the many events he has experienced reflect China's increasingly high status in the global economic system as well as its growing capacity to participate in global economic governance.
China should and can actively increase its participation in formulating rules and regulations
Reporter: Have you experienced any events that can prove the rise of China's global economic status since you became the U.N. Under-Secretary-General?
Sha Zukang: Economic and social affairs are part of the United Nation's three pillars: security, development and human rights. My appointment as the U.N. under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs by the U.N. secretary-general was mainly due to China's development, and it implies the rise of China's international status.
I have attended all of the U.N. climate change conferences and witnessed the entire process of negotiations during the U.N. Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen since I became the U.N. under-secretary-general and a consultant to U.N .Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. China declared to the world prior to the Copenhagen talks that it would boost its energy efficiency by 40 percent before 2020. China has adopted a series of strong measures, made enormous efforts and paid a heavy price at home to meet the target.
China had only a small amount of carbon dioxide emissions before its reform and opening-up, and some of its emissions have increased since. Despite the increased emissions, China's per capita emissions are only one-fifth as much as those of the United States. Western countries pressured China during the summit in Copenhagen, forced China to assume obligation and unreasonably criticized China, which was absolutely groundless. Although China made the greatest contributions to emissions reduction, it has become the most criticized country. Dialectically speaking, the climate change conference in Copenhagen also implies higher expectations held by the outside world on China as well as China's increased influence.
Reporter: What do you think the changes in the world economic governance system should be like?
Sha Zukang: The goal of the reform in world economic governance is to promote the world economy to develop towards a more fair and reasonable direction. Fair and reasonable is a subjective judgment. What is fair and what is reasonable? I am afraid that a country has different views when in different stages of development. However, we are all in favor of developing toward a fair and reasonable direction because the situation now is not very fair and reasonable.
China has been very exemplary in complying with international rules for a long time, though many rules are unfair to developing countries. International rules are formulated by strong powers rather than the weak. History has also proven this. The Charter of the United Nations was also written by the victors and not the defeated nations. Of course, they certainly considered the interests and needs of defeated nations. China should and can participate in the formulation of the international rules more actively.
Most developed economies that engage in trade protectionism have become the most frightening thing
Reporter: After the international financial crisis, what is the opportunity and means of China's participation in world economic governance?
Sha Zukang: First, China actively promoted the development of the multilateral trade system in a more balanced and win-win direction, and firmly opposed all forms of trade protectionism. Everyone opposes trade protectionism when talking about it. However, it is actually those countries that most strongly oppose trade protectionism that are engaged in it under the pretext of financial crisis and domestic difficulties or in order to win votes. The most frightening thing is that the most developed economies are also engaged in trade protectionism.
China is making efforts to promote the WTO Doha Round negotiations for an early, comprehensive, and balanced outcome. China has adhered to the principle of equal consultation, and has taken effective measures to handle trade differences and to promote the establishment of a free, open, fair, and just international trading system with a sincere attitude.
Second, China and other major developing countries have gained greater voting power in the IMF and World Bank, which reflects the international recognition of the great progress these countries have made. However, wide-ranging reforms involving the international monetary system still need to be carried out, and simply increasing the voting power of developing countries is not enough to fundamentally change the unfair system because the United States still has veto power in the IMF. The international monetary system cannot be regarded fair unless the United States’ veto power is removed.
China is actively promoting the reform of international financial organizations including a fair, open, and merit-based leadership selection process, and the reform of the international monetary system including a stable reserve currency system with an adjustable total volume. It is also taking part in formulating unified international financial regulations including financial regulatory standards, accounting standards, and guidelines for credit rating agencies. In addition, it has established 14 free trade areas with other countries since 2000.
In brief, the global financial crisis and the rise of emerging economies have underlined the backwardness of the international financial system, and made the need for reforms more urgent. As a key member of the G20, China will grasp opportunities to play a greater role in global economic governance.
China has a wealth of experience and lessons to share with the world
Reporter: Where does China’s confidence come from when participating in international economic governance?
Sha Zukang: China has its own unique conditions when playing its role in the international economic governance.
First, China is a country with an ancient civilization that has made significant contributions to mankind in history. Chinese culture focuses on friendliness and harmony and values the concept of harmony as the most precious. Chinese culture can certainly play a greater role in international economic governance.
Second, China has the largest population in the world and is also the largest developing country worldwide. China has developed regions with the most advanced technologies in certain fields, but also has medium-developed regions and underdeveloped regions. We can see all kinds of problems that the world has faced just within China. China can understand the concerns of developed countries because its developed regions are also faced with the same problems, and China can also understand the concerns of underdeveloped countries because China also has underdeveloped regions. In regards to geographical conditions, China has arid regions, inland areas and many islands. Therefore, China is able to share the feelings of land-locked countries and small island countries. China is also a natural disaster-prone country. It can be said that China itself is a world, and China has a wealth of experience and lessons to share with the world.
Third, China’s economy experienced a rapid growth over the past 30 years and its economic power and comprehensive national strength are also rising. Its GDP ranks second in the world. In particular, China made the greatest contribution to the world economic growth from 2009 to 2010 after the international financial crisis, and has become the top global economic engine in these two consecutive years. The international community also hopes China can make greater contributions.