An Unsure China Steps Onto the Global Stage

The New York Times reports on China’s new role in the global spotlight at the ongoing G20 meetings:

Yet even as Presidents Hu Jintao and Obama had their first meeting on Wednesday on the sidelines of the summit proceedings, the Chinese appeared torn between seizing their moment in the geopolitical spotlight and shying from it.

Government censors quickly deleted Mr. Xi’s remarks from Chinese news reports last month. On Wednesday, the front page of China Daily, the English-language newspaper that telegraphs government positions to the outside world, warned that China “is not as strong an economy as some people think.”

“Bailing out China is our most important contribution to bail out the world,” Tang Min, an economist at the state-financed China Development Research Foundation, was quoted as saying.

Such is the quandary of a nation whose rise to power appears both inevitable and, in the view of many experts, still a bit premature.

It’s also been reported that a disagreement between France and China over a plan to spotlight a list of tax havens almost derailed the G20 agreement until President Obama intervened and worked out a compromise. From AP:

That was when Obama, long a champion of ending or curbing tax havens, decided to float a compromise and pulled Sarkozy aside, according to a senior White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as a matter of policy.

[…] Obama proposed that the G-20 merely “take note” of the OECD list, thus opening the door to implicit but not direct endorsement of that list.

[…] Obama then met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Sarkozy in a corner of the summit meeting room, as the other world leaders waited.

Upon the trio’s reaching agreement, the G-20 summit then agreed to note the list of tax havens.

See also “Japan,China Agree To Work Together To Help Asian Economies” from the Wall Street Journal; ” China and US agree to deepen ties” from Al-Jazeera,

April 2, 2009 4:14 PM
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