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China in the G20: A Narrow Corridor for Sino–European Cooperation

China in der G20: ein schmaler Korridor für chinesisch-europäische Kooperation

Biba, Sebastian; Holbig, Heike


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Körperschaftlicher Herausgeber GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies - Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien, Institut für Asien-Studien
Abstract Since it hosted the G20 summit and since Trump’s ascent to the US presidency, China has promoted its role as a defender of free trade. In line with European interests, China has also become a supporter of G20 attempts to tackle the emerging crisis of globalisation. Indeed, China has many reasons to be a facilitative player in the G20. However, its engagement entails limitations for the G20 going forward. Compared to India, another emerging power, China has assumed an active role in the G20, seeking to put its stamp on the G20 agenda and calling for the forum’s transformation from a crisis-response mechanism to one of long-term economic governance. There are various incentives for China to play this role: the G20’s small but widen­ed membership relative to the G7, the opportunities for status enhancement and for pushing global governance reforms, the loose institutional design, and the focus on issues that China feels comfortable dealing with. However, China’s prospective engagement has limits. We cannot expect China to agree to a widening of the agenda beyond financial and economic issues. Also, it seems unlikely that China would offer the kind of visionary leadership necessary to fill the hegemonic vacuum should the United States continue to disengage from global governance. In the longer term, attempts by the G20 to tackle its perceived lack of legitimacy are unlikely to be welcomed by China. Calls for institutional consolidation, transparency, and accountability in the move towards more representative global institutions go against China’s key motives in supporting the G20. The corridor for Sino–European cooperation in tackling the crisis of globalisation through the G20 is clearly circumscribed: only if the G20 agenda stays focused on core financial and economic issues will China remain a facilitative player in this grouping. The sole way to prevent increasing tension between the G20’s efficiency and its legitimacy is to push for continued reforms of the traditional global institutions, allowing emerging powers a bigger say in the existing international order. If the architecture of global governance cannot be reshaped from within these global institutions, incentives for China to leverage its growing stature within alternative institutions will increase.
Thesaurusschlagwörter China; global governance; globalization; world trade; international relations; development policy; EU; international economic relations; international cooperation; newly industrializing countries; Far East
Klassifikation internationale Beziehungen, Entwicklungspolitik
Freie Schlagwörter Group of Twenty
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2017
Erscheinungsort Hamburg
Seitenangabe 11 S.
Schriftenreihe GIGA Focus Asien, 2
ISSN 1862-359X
Status Veröffentlichungsversion; nicht begutachtet
Lizenz Creative Commons - Namensnennung, Nicht kommerz., Keine Bearbeitung