Caixin
Jul 05, 2017 05:42 PM
ECONOMY

U.S. Should Join Forces With G-20 Countries, Xi Tells Trump

The U.S. should join with China and other G-20 countries to form a “combined force” against challenges facing the global economy, President Xi Jinping told his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, ahead of the annual summit of the Group of 20 (G-20) that will take place in Hamburg on Friday.

“The global economy is facing challenges now. China and the U.S. need to join other members to strengthen the role of the G-20 and form a combined force,” Xi said during a phone call with Trump on Monday.

The two leaders will both join the two-day G-20 summit on Friday and will meet with each other for further talks, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The Trump administration has created controversy over its protectionist stance in trade relations with the rest of the world and its recent withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

The slogan behind the 2017 G-20 summit appears to represent the opposite of what Trump has been standing for.

Using the theme of “Shaping an interconnected world,” the summit emphasizes three priorities: “building resilience, improving sustainability and assuming responsibility.” An official document about these priorities makes particular mention of the challenges of protectionism and isolationism, efforts in dealing with climate change, and ways to resolve the immigration crisis through international cooperation.

In an interview with Russian media before he departed for a two-day visit to Russia on Monday, Xi reiterated the spirit of partnership among the G-20 members, saying they had “steered the G-20 through the international financial crisis.”

Xi added that the G-20 should stay committed to open development, support the WTO-centered multilateral trading regime, and make sure that trade and investment remain the drivers of global growth, Xinhua reported.

Sino-U.S. ties have been easing since Xi paid a visit to Trump in Florida in April while the two sides agreed to improve their trade relations and seek greater communication on other disputed issues. A 100-day trade negotiation plan has since been initiated and progress made after China agreed to lift a ban on U.S. beef.

However, the warming relations risk a setback after the U.S. recently sold $1.4 billion worth of arms to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province that must eventually reunite with the mainland. China also lodged concerns after a U.S. warship cruised into its claimed territorial waters in the South China Sea over the weekend.

Analysts said the role of the U.S. in the G-20 is expected to be further diminished in the coming summit in Hamburg.

“With the apparent withdraw of the U.S. from international stage the G-20 is more of an open game,” Philippe Le Corre, visiting fellow with the Center on the United States and Europe with the Brookings Institution, said in a speech in Beijing on Tuesday. “It will be one of these platforms that welcomes views from different countries, not just developed countries.”

Beside topics of trade and climate change, the G-20 summit will also focus on the digital economy, energy, health care, immigration and anti-terrorism measures.

Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said in a briefing on Thursday that the G-20 financial ministers have met recently and agreed to intensify economic and financial cooperation in Africa, and increase investment in infrastructure development on the continent.

Contact reporter Wu Gang (gangwu@caixin.com)

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