President Xi confident that multilateralism will prevail

Editor’s note: Andrew Korybko is a Moscow-based American political analyst. The article reflects the author’s views and not necessarily those of CGTN.

Chinese President voiced confidence that multilateralism will prevail while addressing the G20 Summit via video link.

His speech focused on the need for the international community to come closer together to survive the epidemiological and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also paid particular attention to the digital economy, which has grown by leaps and bounds during the past year, as well as the importance of reaffirming support for the UN-based international system.

The Chinese leader previously discussed these themes. But this time he had the opportunity to do so with 19 of his peers.

This weekend’s virtual G20 Summit comes at the end of a busy week of similar online international gatherings such as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and BRICS meetings.

All three of these meetings saw President Xi reiterate his vision for the post-2020 future during each of his speeches. What they have in common is his confidence in multilateralism as the only realistic solution to the world’s many crises. 

By virtue of its size and influence, China has decided to lead by example in showing the rest of the world how this should be done.

At the start of the pandemic, a lot of people feared for the future. It seemed for many that dark days were ahead and that the golden era of globalization had suddenly ended. However, far from having ended, globalization is still very much the theme of the times. If anything, it’ll only become all the more relevant as the rest of the world gradually recovers from the epidemiological and economic crises caused by COVID-19, with China helping them each step of the way.

President Xi knows that China alone can’t save the world and that this herculean task must be tackled in equal partnership with all members of the international community. All that China can do is show the world how it should be done, after which it’s their prerogative whether to follow in its footsteps.

As it turned out, the world is very receptive to China’s support for multilateral solutions, having seemingly grown tired of America’s unilateral antics over the past four years.

President Xi confident that multilateralism will prevail

Chinese President attends the G20 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19 via video link in Beijing, China, March 26, 2020. /Xinhua

Chinese President attends the G20 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19 via video link in Beijing, China, March 26, 2020. /Xinhua

The global recovery will still take some time to unfold, but as President Xi noted in his speech at the G20, “We ought to adapt to change and turn crisis into opportunity.” The pandemic and everything that followed has led to amazing advances being made in the medical industry and the digital economy.

Now is the time to seize the moment and take these developments even further with the support of the international community, which can eventually revolutionize life for everyone as they know it. 

Not only will it save lives, but it’ll make them easier too if all countries coordinate their moves in the digital economy.

The first step in the latter direction is for the world to seriously consider the Global Initiative on Data Security that China proposed a few months ago.

Progress on this front will help manage the global economy’s transition into the digital sphere and thus lay the basis for what some have described as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. With the world coming closer together as a result of the pandemic, the time has never been better to build on this unprecedented multilateral momentum in tackling other issues such as the digital economy, climate change, and gender equality, for example.

President Xi’s confidence in multilateralism bodes well for the coming decade. He put to rest fear about the future by sharing his proposals about the best way to move forward together. If the pandemic has taught the world anything, it’s that unilateralism is counterproductive and only multilateral solutions suffice for surviving global crises.

The world is quickly learning that lesson even though some countries still refuse to acknowledge this truth. Nevertheless, they’re powerless to stop the forces of history, which are moving the world towards a community of shared future for mankind.

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