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Havana summit proves G77- China ties solid

By Wu Baiyi | China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-14 17:24

Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez speaks during a news conference on the upcoming G77+China Summit in Havana, Cuba, Sept 13, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

The Group of 77 and China Summit, to be held in Havana, Cuba, on Friday and Saturday, is significant for several reasons.

First, it will help deepen South-South cooperation. Politically, the world faces a complex web of challenges, including the sole global superpower’s desperation to maintain its hegemony, rising anti-globalization sentiments in some parts of the world, and imbalanced global development.

The international community is once again being tested, although the choice between unity and division, cooperation and confrontation, and peace and conflict is obvious. By strengthening their cooperation and unity, China and other developing countries will be able to not only play a major role in preventing wars and conflicts, and promoting peace and development, but also contribute to safeguarding the core status of the United Nations, and making global governance mechanisms more effective.

Economically, the contributions (both actual and potential) of developing countries and emerging market economies to the world economy are immense and increasing by the year. However, this does not automatically translate into developing countries enjoying more rights and greater say in international institutions and the global governance system. Therefore, they need to further boost their strength and status by deepening South-South cooperation and striving for more rights and benefits through North-South dialogue.

Developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America face the arduous task of not only narrowing the development gap but also breaking away from the traditional development paths to achieve sustainable development while protecting resources and the environment.

Close cooperation in key fields between the Global South and Global North will not only help them realize mutual economic and social benefit, but also promote the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and help build a “community with a shared future for mankind”. In this sense, the Havana summit represents the desire of all participants to seek new opportunities and create new driving forces for economic development.

Second, the summit is a landmark diplomatic event for Cuba and manifests the positive progress in China-Cuba and China-Latin America relations.

Cuba has long been subjected to economic sanctions and a comprehensive blockade by the United States. In order to resist coercion and break through the blockade, Cuba has carried out multilateral diplomacy in Latin America and the Caribbean, playing an important role in regional integration associations such as the Latin American Integration Association, the Caribbean Community, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, and its political influence in the region is strong.

In January 2023, Cuba assumed the rotating presidency of the G77 and became the host of the “G77 and China” annual summit. For Cuba, the value of this summit is very high, whether it is the need to expand its international cooperation space, improve its development and security environment, or strengthen its special friendly relations with China.

Since the beginning of the new century, China-Latin America economic and trade relations have developed by leaps and bounds. Two-way trade has grown at an average annual rate of 18 percent, reaching $485.8 billion in 2022, indicating the highly complementary nature of their cooperation.

Latin America has become the second-largest destination for Chinese foreign investment, with infrastructure being a key area of investment. From the Yacyretá hydroelectric power station and the Belgrano freight railway in Argentina, to the Bogotá urban metro in Colombia, the Punta Ventanas wind farm in Chile, and the Bahia state monorail in Brazil, the effects of Chinese investment on local socioeconomic is increasingly evident.

Cooperation between China and Latin America will further enhance the level of political mutual trust and strengthen bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. The latest example is a resolution passed by the Central American Parliament on Aug 21, accepting Beijing as a permanent observer party and annulling the so-called permanent observer status of Taipei.

And third, it is a microcosm of the acceleration and upgrading of China’s diplomacy in the new era. During his recent meeting with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, President Xi Jinping emphasized that the G77 and China is an important platform for cooperation among developing countries, and China attaches great importance to Cuba’s hosting of the G77+China Summit in Havana.

Developing country diplomacy is a key part of China’s overall diplomacy. After nearly 60 years of development and expansion, the membership of the G77 has increased to 134 countries, making it the most representative cluster of developing countries in the world. Meanwhile, China has become the world’s second-largest economy with increasing global influence.

As such, the interaction between China and the G77 will boost the development of the world. But the US has intensified efforts to divide the Global South and disrupt China’s cooperation with other developing countries. The US Congress has even introduced an act denying China’s status as a “developing country”.

Although such efforts to contain China are doomed to failure, they have prompted China to further weave a solid web of friendly relations and cooperation with other developing countries. Apart from creating more “China-plus” mechanisms, China will also move ahead with its global cooperation plan under the Belt and Road Initiative framework, injecting new impetus into common development and prosperity, and making greater contributions to the establishment of new South-South cooperation and North-South cooperation mechanisms, as well as reducing the deficits in global governance, trust, peace and development.

The G77 and China Summit in Havana will serve as a testament to this.

The author is senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The views don’t necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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