BEIJING – China will propose a joint initiative to revive weak global growth at next month’s meeting of leaders of Group of 20 major economies amid rising protectionist sentiment in the United States and Europe, officials said Monday.
Speaking at a news conference, a senior Chinese diplomat made clear Beijing wants the Sept. 4-5 meeting to avoid political issues such as its territorial disputes with its neighbors in the South China Sea.
The meeting in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou comes as an unusually weak global economic recovery is helping to fuel the popularity of U.S. and European political movements that advocate protection for local industries.
Details of Beijing’s proposal still are being worked out but will include reforms aimed at strengthening the global financial system and promoting technological innovation, said the Chinese finance and foreign affairs officials.
They gave no indication it might include an economic stimulus. Some investors have expected such a measure but officials at two previous G-20 gatherings this year said the timing was wrong, because individual economies face different conditions and need to take actions tailored to their own needs.
The proposal will stress “inclusive growth” to spread economic benefits widely and shore up support for free trade, said a deputy finance minister, Zhu Guangyao. He said governments should be on “high alert” to “anti-globalization” sentiments.
“If the people cannot feel the benefits, then this sort of development cannot truly improve people’s lives, and people will have mixed feelings about such development,” he said.
A deputy foreign minister, Li Baoding, made clear China wants to avoid sensitive diplomatic issues.
The consensus among members is to “focus on economic development and not be distracted by other parties,” Li said when asked about territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
“The Hangzhou summit must focus on economic issues,” said Li. “This is what people want to talk about most at the summit.”
Li gave similar responses to questions about China’s resolute opposition to South Korea’s deployment of a U.S. missile defense system.