Since the launch of Xuě Lóng 2 (literally, China’s “Snow Dragon 2”) in late 2018, images of Chinese icebreakers on the Polar route of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have become more and more common on media outlets around the world. Images that leave a sweet-and-sour taste, as they imply that one of the few sanctuaries in the world (that is, the Polar region) is no longer immune to large-scale human activity.
As Earth’s southernmost continent, Antarctica lives by norms of its own. It is a de facto condominium over which seven sovereign states maintain territorial claims, but that is governed by a multilateral Antarctic Treaty System (ATS). China’s growing interests in the “White Continent” have spurred responses from the actors that have much at stake in Antarctica, such as Australia, Brazil and Russia, as well as the European Union.
With the so-called “Gilets jaunes movement”, France has gone through a political mobilization which is both “déjà vu” and radically new. The “déjà vu” dimension is linked to the historical tradition of protest and political violence in a country where the representative channels and the intermediary groups are and always have been sociologically weak and politically illegitimate since the 1789 revolution. This French peculiarity has little to teach to other democratic systems which are usually better equipped with instruments of mediation both at the societal and political level.
Which are the main aims of China's international relations strategy, and how is Xi pursuing them?
The following excerpt is a slightly revised English translation of the Executive Summary of an ISPI in-depth analysis for the Italian Parliament. The complete version of the report is available here (Italian).
The Italian G7 (26–27 May) takes place during momentous times for international politics. Many Heads of State and Government meeting in Taormina are new to the forum, and some of them hold radically different views. On top of that, France and the United Kingdom are in the midst of their national electoral campaigns, while Germany goes to the polls in September. Italy has approached its 2017 Presidency with realistic goals and by keeping a cool head.
The G7 summit, being held today and tomorrow in the splendid setting of Taormina, Sicily, boasts particular significance amidst the growing fragility in global governance.
While the summit of the world's twenty major economies is approaching, the United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) is about to turn one year old. Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets set the scene for economic, environmental, and social progress over the next 15 years.
The G20 – comprising 19 countries and the EU, with representatives from the Bretton Woods institutions and established just at the turn of the century - provides a new way forward for transnational governance that works for not only China, but also for 19 other major economies.
Wang Wen, Executive Dean, Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China (RDCY).
The G20 forum is a relatively new addition to the global governance architecture. The group has no secretariat or treaty, and instead relies on consensus agreement of its membership of 19 of the world’s largest developed and emerging economies and the European Union. G20 countries ‘sign up’ to commitments voluntarily with some peer review processes. When the G20 cooperates and countries implement policy in tandem, the forum can act as the ‘steering committee’ for the global economy.