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Group can give all developing nations bigger global say

Updated: 2011-04-13 07:37
By Li Xiaokun ( China Daily)

BEIJING - Standing head and shoulders above its fellow BRICS members in terms of economic power, is China trying to take the leading role among the five?

Chinese experts said Beijing is not seeking such a position, what it wants is a bigger say for all developing nations in the global arena.

"We cannot say China aims at taking the leading role in the BRICS, nor can we say it is building a new international order centered on its own ideas," said Yao Zhizhong, a researcher with the BRICS research base at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The dispute originated in the Washington-based Foreign Policy magazine.

In an article entitled "The BRICS and what the BRICS would be without China", carried in 2009, when the group gained a bigger role due to the financial crisis, it said "China is the muscle of the group and the Chinese know it".

"We should see the emergence of the BRIC bloc for what it is at its heart, a major amplifier of the influence of the country at its heart, China," said the article.

But what China really wants, Yao said, is not a bigger role while other members of the BRICS stand in the shadows, but to work with others to push for the G20 to be the main mechanism for international economic management.

"The G20 is the most important mechanism, but the group is not fully established yet. Once mature, there will be significant changes in the global economic structure led by developed countries. BRICS countries should help emerging economies get a stronger say inside the G20 and around the globe," he said.

"Actually China sees the BRICS as a group, not as a bloc led by certain countries. It wants every member to benefit from such cooperation," said Han Wenke, director-general of the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Such benefits include its impact around the world that helps developing countries, and its rich experience in development, he said.

Joo Pontes Nogueira, department chair at Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, said: "There are many important contributions from China for the BRICS, and the dynamism of the Chinese economy is of course is an example for emerging economies, it's a model that all the other countries of the BRICS are looking at."

He also drew attention to China's role during the global economic crisis.

"I think in general the emerging countries in the BRICS effectively resisted the financial crisis in 2008, but this would have been very difficult without the dynamism of the Chinese economy. In that sense, the role of China in this matter and also its role in reforming the world economy are very important for our economies in the next 10 to 20 years."

Sriparna Pathak, junior fellow of India's Observer Research Foundation, said: "China is the strongest of the five countries."

She said India should look at China's domestic policies, such as the massive stimulus package it announced during the financial crisis, to seek inspiration, aside from getting investment and expertise from China.

"Only by learning and sharing our experiences, can we be better connected, forgetting our differences, only then we can move forward," she said.

And Beijing has also learnt a lot from its partners in the mechanism, and has got their support when tackling challenges, said Han.

Nogueira said Brazil has close ties with the West, a strong commitment to multilateralism and actively participates in international institutions.

"I think that's a contribution we could give to the BRICS in general and China as well," he said.