Chinese President: The G20 must send a clear signal of solidarity

INTERVIEW – Chinese President Hu Jintao outlines the priorities of China for the summit in Cannes.

Chinese President Hu Jintao will arrive in Cannes on Wednesday to participate in G20 summit. He will first have an evening working dinner with Nicolas Sarkozy. Before leaving Beijing, the Chinese head of state has agreed to answer written questions from French newspaper Le Figaro.

Last November, you made a state visit to France. You met the French president on two occasions. There will be a third meeting of the year at the G20 summit in Cannes. Again in France a year later, how do you see the Sino-French relations and cooperation of both countries within the G20?

Hu Jintao: I come this time in Cannes to attend the G20 summit and discuss with leaders of other G20 members to promote a strong, sustainable and balanced global economy. I am also pleased to meet again with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

During my successful state visit to France last November, President Sarkozy and I decided to build a strategic Sino-French partnership. The new type of mature and stable partnership is based on mutual trust and mutual benefit, and facing the world. In March and again in August 2011, we met twice in Beijing and we have exchanged in-depth views on bilateral relations, the global economic situation, the G20 and the major topics, which allowed to strengthen mutual trust between our two countries. In recent years, following the guidelines given by the leaders of two countries, Sino-French relations have seen stable development, marked by frequent exchanges of high-level economic and trade cooperation, intensified vibrant, cultural exchanges, consultations and coordination on major international and regional issues.

In today’s ever changing deep and complex international situation, it is necessary that China and France, two major influential countries in the world, strengthen coordination and cooperation to jointly tackle global challenges and contribute actively to promote peace, stability and prosperity in the world. China will work with France to further strengthen exchanges and dialogue at all levels and in all areas, deepen practical cooperation in traditional nuclear power and aviation, exploring new avenues of cooperation in the field of sustainable development, strengthen their cultural exchanges, the success of “cross-language year” expand the exchange of students and then maintain the development momentum of Sino-French relations.

China attaches great importance to consultation and cooperation with France in the G20, supports the French for a successful summit and ready to work with the French Presidency to make this appointment at Cannes give positive and concrete results and quickly find strong growth for the global economy.

What do you think the international economic and financial situation now? What are your expectations from the summit of Cannes?

Today, what we see is a slowdown in the global recovery, an increase in factors of instability and uncertainty, a lower growth in major economies, an indebtedness of some developed countries, turmoil in international financial markets and a rising protectionism of trade and investment. G20 members should strengthen cooperation and work towards a strong, sustainable and balanced global economy. The Cannes summit should focus on this objective and act in particular in three areas:

– First, to continue the spirit of solidarity and win-win cooperation. G20 members should continue to work together, strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, issue a clear message of solidarity to face challenges of the global economy, consolidate hard-won recovery and restore market confidence;

– Secondly, to focus on economic issues and urgent financial world. The Cannes summit must not only adequately address issues such as sovereign debt and soaring volatile commodity prices, but also give impetus to the reform of international monetary and financial system, fight protectionism in trade and investment and advance the multilateral negotiations for trade liberalization;

– Third, continue to address the problem of unequal North-South development. The contribution of emerging and developing countries in the recovery and growth of the global economy must be assessed objectively and accurately, taking their reasonable concerns into account, increasing their representation and voice in global economic governance and create a favorable external environment for their sustainable development.

In September 2009, leaders of the G20 countries agreed at the summit in Pittsburgh, to create a “framework for strong, sustainable and balanced.” What is the opinion of China on the balanced growth? What are the steps taken by it to help rebalance the global economy?

The international community should objectively see the relationship between strong, sustainable growth and balanced growth. Sustainable growth is a long-term goal, the achievement of balanced growth through restructuring is an objective requirement, while strong growth is a priority for the global economy at present, and an advance to achieve a balanced and sustainable growth. For the G20, it is urgent to maintain growth and to seek balance in growth.

The international community must pay attention to the nature of global economic imbalances, which are an outward manifestation of the fundamental problems of the economy and finance world, not a cause. These structural imbalances include the unbalanced structure of the global economy and the international division of labor and the international monetary system. The solution of the problem is economic restructuring which should be undertaken by all countries. It will be a long process, we can not get there overnight.

In previous G20 summits, the leaders of China and other countries have all emphasized that the biggest economic imbalances in the world today was that of development between North and South, and solve the imbalance was intended to promote common development. Only by helping developing countries accelerate their development and achieve growth and prosperity that we can establish the recovery on a solid base, expanding global aggregate demand and achieve sustainable growth in the world.

Since the outbreak of the global financial crisis, China has pursued a vigorous policy to boost domestic demand to achive annual growth of over 9% on average and accelerated growth in imports and overseas investment. For the first three quarters of this year, China has achieved a growth of 9.4%, an increase of 17% of the overall volume in retail sales of consumer goods and an increase of 26.7% in imports, which reached 1.2851 trillion USD. These results constitute an important contribution to the recovery and growth of the global economy. Today, China is working on changing its mode of growth, restructuring its economy, establish a permanent increase in domestic demand and promote growth driven by consumption, investment and export. China’s trade surplus accounts for only 3.2% of GDP in 2010, against 7.5% in 2007. For five years, China will maintain the growth rate of consumption to a fairly high level, with imports estimated at more than 8000 billion dollars, which will be a major contribution of the Chinese economy at the economy in the world.

How does China view the prospect of the debt crisis in Europe? Is it conducive to the participation of the G20 rescue?

Recently, the difficulties of some European countries associated with sovereign debt have attracted high attention of the international community. China notes that the leaders of the countries in the euro area have repeatedly stated that the European side had the determination, ability and means to resolve this issue. The recent European Council adopted new ideas and measures to deal with the crisis, reflecting Europe’s determination to work in solidarity to find a solution. We hope these measures will enable Europe to stabilize the financial market, to overcome the current difficulties and to promote recovery and growth. China sincerely hopes to see stability in the euro area and the euro.

What do you think the future of Sino-European relations?

China has always considered Europe as an important force in the international arena and constantly supports European integration. China will, together with Europe, enhancing mutual understanding and mutual trust, expand and deepen pragmatic cooperation in all areas, and build a equal partnership based on mutual respect, friendship and mutual trust, a cooperative partnership characterized by mutual benefit, win-win and common development, a partnership characterized by harmonious and original mutual inspiration, and an inclusive open and forward looking international partnership. This doesn’t only benefit China’s development and economic recovery in Europe, but also for the peace, stability and prosperity of the world.