Speech earns praise from global leaders

Updated: 2013-09-07 03:12

By FU JING and XIE SONGXIN (China Daily)

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President Xi Jinping brought a spirit of "pragmatism and boldness" in a cooperative way to the G20 summit when addressing the country"s domestic difficulties and global challenges.

Global opinion leaders commented shortly after Xi, who made his G20 debut, delivered a keynote speech to the leaders" summit on Thursday.

They said they were impressed by Xi's candid nature and pragmatism in implementing structural reform at home even at the cost of a slower pace of economic growth. They welcomed Xi's stance of requesting a greater voice and decision-making rights in global economic governance on behalf of emerging economies.

Gregory Chin, associate professor of political economics at York University in Canada, who has tracked several G20 summits, said Xi brought a "new spirit of candidness and boldness" to the meeting.

"Challenging world conditions are prompting the Chinese leadership to take bold, careful and calculated global measures," said Chin, a Chinese-Canadian scholar who specializes in evolving global governance and China"s role. "I found that this new spirit of boldness continues at the G20."

Chin said Xi has been at the forefront of several recent important global engagements such as the recent US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue and had a successful meeting with US President Barack Obama.

Based on his observations, Chin said Xi"s speech focused on encouraging growth in the world economy and also on securing financial stability, international banking and other related financial reforms to enhance the role of emerging economies in the system.

Mikhail Golovnin, senior economist with the Russia Academy of Science, said Xi inserted a spirit of both cooperation and competition at the G20 by coming up with the idea of "reforming the basket of currencies for special drawing rights". Special drawing rights are reserve assets held by the International Monetary Fund as a supplement to gold and US dollars for use among member governments in settling international payments.

Golovnin said this is a bold expression of the internationalization of the Chinese currency.

"New currencies, such as the yuan, should be included in such a basket and make the system more competitive," said Golovnin, who is also an expert on Russia"s National Committee of BRICS Research. BRICS is the acronym for the trading bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Currently, the dollar, pound, euro and yen make up the basket of global reserve currencies.

Douglas Paal, director of the Asia Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, said Xi"s proposal of turning the G20 into a platform focusing on long-term governance is sensible and consistent with the efforts of the G20 since the financial crisis.

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