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Geopolitical Tensions, Concerns over Chinese Economy lead the G20 Buildup

Dr Raj Kumar Sharma writes: Efforts to tackle the Climate Change will receive a boost, as China has already announced that it will ratify the agreement to cut emissions announced at Paris summit in 2015.

G20 Summit in China’s Hangzhou will be held amidst global geopolitical tensions and differences among major powers over territorial disputes. One of the main issues is China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. China has put a question mark over validity of international law and order as it has refused to abide by Hague ruling which has quashed its ‘claims’ over the disputed area. US President Obama has already advised ‘restraint’ to China over the issue in his interview to the CNN. The Foreign Ministers of G7 in their April meeting had expressed their concerns over the South China Sea issue and it will be a big diplomatic test for China as it would want to avoid mention of the issue in the G20 joint statement. It would not be easy though, as China has been involved in a number of security issues with its neighbours who are part of the G20 grouping.

Tensions prevail on the Korean peninsula where North Korea has recently done a submarine missile test. South Korea, in order to save itself from North Korean missiles has decided to deploy US missile defence system, THAAD but China and Russia have opposed this move due to security implications for them. Relations between China and Japan have also nosedived in the past due to their dispute over islands in the East China Sea. China is also increasing its presence in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir under the garb of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. PoK is a part of Indian Territory but China remains assertive, as it has been doing in the SC Sea. CPEC is likely to feature in bilateral talks between President Xi and PM Modi on the sidelines of the summit. One positive development could be that the US and Russia could announce an agreement on Syrian ceasefire. China also faces internal problems as it has launched domestic crackdown on critics of the government and independent human rights activists.

Hence, it is not surprising that China has tried to be diplomatically correct by selecting this theme for the G20 summit – ‘Toward an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy’. The economic situation is also not very encouraging as Chinese economy is slowing down having global implications. Europe is witnessing economic nationalism after the Brexit and it would be difficult to strike a balance between the opposing forces of globalization and economic nationalism. Moreover, the geopolitical tensions are clearly visible in trade groupings to come up in future. The US has excluded China from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) while China is looking forward to have Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in place to tackle fallout of TTP. Efforts to tackle the Climate Change will receive a boost, as China has already announced that it will ratify the agreement to cut emissions announced at Paris summit in 2015. The US is also expected to ratify the agreement at the G20 summit. India will be opsonising two main proposals at the summit – China’s idea of creating information on corrupt persons and US proposal on setting a deadline on ending subsidy on fossil fuels. While India has ended subsidies on petrol and diesel, it cannot end subsidy on cooing gas for the poor and free coal produced electricity to farmers. India would also like to see details of the Chinese proposal on the corrupt persons as it has so far not shared much about this initiative.[1] India will also have to take a cautious approach to the issue of overcapacity in steel production, as it is one of the largest producers of steel.


[1] G20 summit: India to oppose China, US proposals,


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