Proposal put forward at event to bolster G20’s role in global battle against COVID
President Xi Jinping has underlined the importance of development in tackling poverty, vowing to build a poverty-free world featuring common development with other countries.
Speaking during the second session of the 15th Group of 20 Leaders’ Summit via video link in Beijing on Sunday, Xi called for efforts to alleviate the debt burden of developing countries and to provide necessary financial support to them.
He also stressed that digital technology should play a role in providing more opportunities for vulnerable groups including small and medium-sized enterprises, women and youth to be lifted out of poverty.
On Saturday, Xi called on all members of the G20 to consider greater teamwork on vaccines, free trade, technology, the digital economy and debt reduction in tackling the impact brought by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Xi put forward a four-point proposal for bolstering the “irreplaceable role” played by the G20 in the global virus fight in a speech via video link to the first session of the summit on Saturday.
Calling for building a global firewall against COVID-19, Xi urged G20 members to bring the disease under control at home and help countries in need, speed up action and support the World Health Organization in mobilizing and consolidating resources and distributing COVID-19 vaccines fairly and efficiently.
China stands ready to step up cooperation with other countries on the research, development, production and distribution of vaccines, and will honor its commitment to give assistance and support to other developing countries and work to make vaccines an accessible and affordable global public good, he said.
To ensure the smooth functioning of the global economy, Xi highlighted the need to restore the secure and smooth operation of global industrial and supply chains, reduce tariffs and barriers, and explore the liberalization of trade in key medical supplies while containing the virus.
Xi called for bolstering links and synergies between policies and standards as well as building “fast tracks” to facilitate travel.
“China has proposed a global mechanism on the mutual recognition of health certificates based on nucleic acid test results in the form of internationally accepted QR codes. We hope more countries will join this mechanism,” Xi said.
Speaking on the growth of the contact-free, digital economy which has been accelerated by the pandemic, Xi said G20 members should foster an enabling environment for the development of the digital economy, enhance data security cooperation, strengthen digital infrastructure and level the playing field for high-tech companies from all countries.
Countries should also “address the challenges posed by the digital economy to employment, taxation and vulnerable groups, and seek to bridge the digital divide”, Xi added.
On helping developing countries overcome the hardships caused by the pandemic, he said China, despite its own difficulties, has fully implemented the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative and put off debt repayments totaling over $1.3 billion.
China will further suspend or relieve the debt of countries facing particular difficulties, he said, adding that the G20 members “should help women walk out of the shadow of the pandemic” and take the challenge of food security seriously.
At the session, Xi also put forward four-point proposals on strengthening the leading role of the G20 in terms of upholding multilateralism, pursuing openness and inclusiveness, promoting mutually beneficial cooperation and keeping pace with the times.
All parties should firmly support the United Nations’ authority and status and “support the UN in more effectively building global consensus, mobilizing global resources and coordinating global actions”, he said.
To perfect the governance architecture for economic globalization, countries should firmly safeguard the rules-based multilateral trading system, support reform of the World Trade Organization to boost its efficacy and authority, promote free trade, oppose unilateralism and protectionism and uphold fair competition, Xi said.
To further reform the international financial system, he called on countries to conclude the IMF’s 16th General Quota Review on schedule, expand the role of Special Drawing Rights and strengthen the global financial safety net.
Xi noted that, in order to ensure the sound growth of the digital economy, China recently launched the Global Initiative on Data Security, based on which it is ready to discuss the formulation of rules on global digital governance with all parties.
Also, China supports more dialogue on artificial intelligence, and proposes a meeting on this in due course to advance the G20 AI Principles and set the course for the healthy development of AI globally, he said.
On addressing global challenges, Xi stressed the need to “forge a strong shield for human health and safety, and build a global community of health for all”, further curtail the production and use of nonessential, disposable plastic goods, and completely ban the illegal trade of wildlife.
When speaking on the Chinese economy, he said the country “has made steady strides in economic development”, and its new development paradigm “is by no means a closed-door policy”.
While making its economy more resilient and competitive, China also aims to build a new system of open economy of higher standards, which “will create more opportunities for the world to benefit from China’s high-quality development”, he said.
Mo Jingxi contributed to this story.