The Multilateralist

China cool to Sarkozy’s G20 ambitions

French president Nicolas Sarkozy is in China for a G-20 "seminar," designed to foster new thinking as finance ministers and leaders prepare for this year’s summit in France. At least according to this account, however, China does not share French enthusiasm for an activist G-20: [The] seminar was supposed to highlight Sino-French cooperation in promoting ...

French president Nicolas Sarkozy is in China for a G-20 "seminar," designed to foster new thinking as finance ministers and leaders prepare for this year’s summit in France. At least according to this account, however, China does not share French enthusiasm for an activist G-20:

[The] seminar was supposed to highlight Sino-French cooperation in promoting more regulation of commodity markets and exploring reform of the global monetary system, but Beijing has not exuded enthusiasm for the seminar or for Sarkozy’s broad plans during his government’s presidency of the G20.

The Chinese government has distanced itself from the Nanjing meeting, emphasizing that France is the organizer and China simply the venue. It has insisted that a small think tank headed by a retired vice-premier is responsible for the Chinese side of the planning.

One of the significant problems for the G-20 at the moment is that neither Washington nor Beijing appears overly enthusiastic about its prospects or utility. The big-power reticence is not lost on the group’s other members, who face the choice of either trying to gin up momentum for the forum on their own (as France is doing) or devoting less time and effort to it (as I suspect other G-20 members are doing).  

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