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  • Author: Alex He
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: As the largest emerging economy, China believes that the Group of Twenty (G20), instead of the Group of Eight (G8), is the ideal platform for its participation in global governance. This paper examines the reasons why China joined the G20 rather than the G8, and then focuses on a detailed review of China's participation in G20 summits since the enhanced forum began in 2008. China took a very active and cooperative attitude in dealing with the global financial crisis in 2008-2009. The paper observes that China also insisted on its own agenda for reforms to the international monetary system, through reforms to the international financial institutions that manage it — in particular, raising the number of voting shares and the representation of developing countries at the IMF and the World Bank. Based on the reviews of China's performance in the G20 summits since 2008, the paper explores China's policy making through its participation in the G20, determining that it is shaped by several major economic departments in addition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and coordinated by a vice premier responsible for economic and financial affairs. The paper concludes that China has gained immensely from its participation in the G20. Most importantly, China entered the centre stage of global economic governance through the G20, which allowed the country to demonstrate that it is a responsible great power, and communicate and maintain relations with other major powers. The main challenges China has faced since joining the G20, from the perspective of some Chinese scholars, are a lack of capacity for agenda setting and shaping initiatives, as well as inadequate communication and coordination among different government departments and between the Sherpa and financial tracks of the G20.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, International Monetary Fund, Global Recession, Financial Crisis, World Bank
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Hongying Wang
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: More than a decade after it put forth the idea of the Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanism (SDRM) in the early 2000s, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is again seeking to engage various stakeholders in a new round of discussions about improving sovereign debt restructuring. As a major international creditor, China is an important force to reckon with. So far, the Chinese government has said little publicly regarding the recent IMF reports on this issue. Chinese policy makers and analysts are supportive of the IMF's attempt to explore ways for earlier and more orderly debt restructuring, but they find the proposed reforms to be only marginally useful. From China's point of view, the most important question in debt management is how to prevent excessive borrowing and lending and reduce the likelihood of unsustainable debt. It sees discussions about the mechanisms of sovereign debt restructuring as having little effect on this question. As an international creditor, China's main concern has to do with safeguarding the value of its overseas assets from the detrimental effect of macroeconomic policies of Western countries, especially the United States. This is not an issue that can be addressed by improved debt restructuring mechanisms. China remains deeply concerned about the power imbalance between developed and developing countries in the international financial system. Going forward in the global dialogue over sovereign debt restructuring, China's priority will be to minimize international financial instability while protecting the development needs of developing countries.
  • Topic: Debt, International Monetary Fund
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Alex He
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The G20 has emerged as the lynchpin of China's involvement in global economic governance. It remains the only economic institutional setting where the country can operate on par with major Western powers. China has a strong interest in maintaining the status of the G20 as the premier forum for economic cooperation, and a vested interest in ensuring that the G20 does not degrade into yet another “talk shop” of multilateral diplomacy. However, the Chinese leadership's current approach to the G20 is not driven by a desire to position the country as a leading agenda setter. Instead, China's main policy priority is ensuring that the country is treated as an equal and respected partner. China recognizes that in many ways it is still in a comparatively weak position and does not have the institutional capabilities and talents needed to operate in global financial and economic institutions such as the G20.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: David A. Welch
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: As events demonstrate on a regular basis, the Asia-Pacific is a region prone to crisis. In recent years there has been a marked increase in the use of military force to signal interests or resolve, and even, in some cases, to alter the status quo, particularly in the East and South China Seas. Fortunately, none of these “mini crises” have escalated to the level of a shooting war. The received wisdom is that, all other things being equal, no country in the region desires conflict, owing to their high levels of economic interdependence. However, it is clear that in a context of rising nationalism, unresolved historical grievances and increasing hostility and suspicion, there is no reason to be complacent about the prospect of managing every future crisis successfully. Hence the recent surge in interest in crisis management “mechanisms” (CMMs). This paper explores the dangers of thinking of crisis management in an overly technical or mechanistic fashion, but also argues that sensitivity to those very dangers can be immensely useful. It draws upon US and Soviet experiences in the Cuban missile crisis to inform management of a hypothetical future Sino-American crisis in the East China Sea, and to identify general principles for designing and implementing CMMs.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, International Security, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Hongying Wang
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: As part of a shift toward a more activist foreign policy, China has accelerated its engagement in minilateralism, which is the gathering of a sub-group of countries within or outside a multilateral institution to solve a problem when the multilateral institution is unable to reach agreements among its members. This paper examines China's minilateral diplomacy in the financial area. Although China has been involved in regional financial cooperation for the last 15 years, its recent minilateral initiatives, such as the New Development Bank (NDB), the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), are far more China-centred. What are China's motivations? Will these minilateral schemes undermine the traditional multilateral institutions? This paper argues that the Chinese government seeks to use financial minilateralism to stimulate reform of global financial institutions, provide financial public goods for its regional neighbours and fellow developing countries, as well as directly promote China's economic and political interests. China's financial minilateralism is not meant to overthrow the existing multilateral institutions, but this could change depending on the interaction between how the world responds to China's new activism and the domestic political dynamics in China. Western countries should understand and accommodate China's aspirations and encourage China to keep its minilateralism open.
  • Political Geography: China