On May 7, the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies affiliated to publishing conglomerate China International Publishing Group and The Bridge Tank, a French think tank, hosted a webinar on China-France cooperation and how the two countries can jointly promote a more just and equitable global governance in the post-epidemic era. Following the China-France Global Governance Forum in Paris in 2019, this webinar was the latest initiative to strengthen dialogue and cooperation on global governance between the two countries. This is an edited excerpt of what was said:
Kong Quan, Deputy Director of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and former Chinese Ambassador to France
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown its global impact, with the world economy pushed off a cliff, people-to-people exchanges suspended and international relations stressed. In this complex, multi-factor situation, China and France should adhere to seeking common ground while shelving differences, continuing joint pursuit of multilateralism, and promoting globalization through further opening up and cooperation.
China does have differences with France and also Europe in many aspects. However, since the establishment of China-France diplomatic ties 56 years ago, and China-EU relations 45 years ago, China and European countries have never tried to interfere in one another's internal affairs, but chosen to respect the diversity of civilizations. It is these differences that have brought us exchanges, mutual learning and cooperation. Both sides agree that the current multilateral system, with the United Nations at its core, embodies equality and consultation and helps to maintain peace and development. It should be safeguarded and improved with joint efforts.
Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former French Prime Minister
The first point of post-pandemic France-China cooperation should be the search for global governance that brings everyone to the table. Countries that are in favor of multilateralism, including France and China, must work to avoid the quagmire of a new cold war. We should avoid being locked into conflicting relations that weaken global governance.
Our two countries share a vision of what a common partnership can look like in the future. France and China are committed both to their national sovereignty and to international cooperation. Our common stand is to safeguard sovereignty and promote cooperation, not to choose one or the other.
However, multilateralism today no longer meets all demands. For example, the United Nations is incapable of managing certain conflicts and it causes other dissatisfactions. It must therefore be rethought to make it more relevant to contemporary society.
Du Zhanyuan, President of the China International Publishing Group
Countries including China and France have adopted specific and effective measures in the light of their own conditions to tackle the pandemic. They have also improved their national governance system during this time. However, mounting populism and racism in some countries continue to challenge our belief in globalization.
Globalization follows a historical trend that will not be changed by any individual or the policies of a certain country. We need cooperation, inclusiveness and solidarity to safeguard globalization. We should pay more attention to common interests and pursue win-win cooperation. We should discard the obsolete zero-sum-game way of thinking and be more inclusive. Countries should reject the law of the jungle, and work together without prejudice and hatred.
What the international community needs most now is confidence to face up to challenges and overcome difficulties together. Globalization is an irreversible trend and a common goal that countries should always pursue. Only with firm belief can we find a way out.
Joël Ruet, President of The Bridge Tank
The world we live in is in turbulence because of the pandemic. Against this backdrop, it is necessary for France and China to carry out in-depth and high-level communication.
Today's world is inundated with fake news and blame games. The truth will slowly emerge from the pandemic, but the economic impact is already being felt. Globalization is the common property of the world, and public health security, trade and climate stability are its important aspects. So countries need to think more about how we can work together. People-to-people exchanges should be strengthened as they are conducive to defeating fake news.
Zhu Guangyao, Counsellor of the State Council of China and former Vice Finance Minister
The immediate task for countries is to address the uncertainties—the duration of the outbreak, the suffering global economy, the global supply and industrial chains, and the global governance system, which have been impacted by the crisis.
The pandemic would have a considerable impact on globalization in four aspects: the security of industrial and supply chains, the relocation of health and pharmaceutical industries, the coordination of regional policies to jointly deal with challenges, and the development of the digital economy.
As permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and France shoulder the mission of maintaining world peace, development and stability. We must play a bigger role in many aspects such as the economy, traditional security, public health, environmental protection as well as climate change, and continue to play a leading role in upholding multilateralism.
Edmond Alphandéry, former French Minister of Economy and former President of Electricité de France
Climate change remains a common challenge facing the whole world, which requires continued efforts amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
In 2017, China unveiled a nationwide carbon emission trading system in a step toward establishing a national carbon market. As the two most important carbon emission trading markets in the world, China and the EU, despite respective shortcomings, can work together to achieve their missions. There is a lot of evidence that infectious diseases are actually linked to climate change. Fight against climate change should never stop and we need to contribute more than ever to reduce carbon emissions.
Li Daokui, Director of the Institute for China's Economic Practice and Thinking, Tsinghua University
Human society is now facing the most serious challenges since the end of World War II. The pandemic is so widespread that no country is immune. The first fallout from the outbreak was a surge in unemployment. The second one is politicians making self-serving attempts to blame countries including China, leading to a wave of anti-globalization and anti-free trade which is bound to harm the consumers and labor forces of their own countries.
We call on think tanks and the elite in China and France to unequivocally reject politicians' rhetoric about accountability and paying compensation. The policymakers of the two countries should strengthen communication and make joint efforts to minimize the pandemic's impact on the economy and speed up its recovery.
Pascal Petit, professor at the French National Center for Scientific Research
The world needs to better coordinate relations at the national, regional and international levels so as to deal with the crisis. Upholding multilateralism, countries need to improve policies and institutions in public health, invest more in scientific research and find solutions as soon as possible. Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, this could also be an opportunity for the world to turn to green development.
Yao Yang, Dean of the National School of Development of Peking University
Countries have adjusted their monetary policies since the outbreak. The U.S. Federal Reserve has unveiled unlimited quantitative easing, an aggressive move to prop up the economy, followed by the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan. This kind of move will actually cause instability in global financial markets and impact various economies. Measures are needed to coordinate the monetary policies of countries. Only in this way can the world economy enjoy steady growth.
Zheng Xinye, Dean of the School of Applied Economics, Renmin University of China
Although voices of deglobalization or anti-globalization have been heard, there are also strong forces that support globalization and free trade. In the post-pandemic era, peace and development remain the major themes of the world. China and France should take action to jointly revitalize the world economy by coordinating fiscal, financial and monetary policies. The two countries should also integrate solutions to the current crisis, long-term development and global governance so as to promote the sustainable development of globalization.
Pierre-Noel Giraud, professor of economics at Mines ParisTech
In the post-pandemic era, globalization will continue its course, especially in the digital economy and financial sector. However, multilateralism is threatened by hegemony. Though countries now are more interdependent, reform is urgently needed. For example, we can think about how to incorporate the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative into future discussions of multilateralism.
(Print Edition Title: For Better Global Governance)
Copyedited by Sudeshna Sarkar
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