China, always a member of the Global South
HAVANA -- Almost six decades ago, 77 developing countries signed a joint declaration in Geneva and gave birth to the Group of 77 with the purpose of speaking for the developing world.
Over the years, the intergovernmental organization, with growing membership, has continued to play an active role in searching for a remedy to the widening development deficit as well as a more balanced economic order with the Global South as a major stakeholder. In that process, China, though not a member, has always worked with the grouping and offered steadfast support.
The G77+China Summit, opened in Havana on Friday, was convened at a critical moment, or to be more exact, a watershed moment for the developing world to advance its development agenda and ultimately forge a fairer and a more just world order.
"Today, the Global South is back," and its impacts are being felt in "new and growing coalitions," commented Sarang Shidore, a scholar on the Global South and a George Washington University professor, in Foreign Affairs magazine.
There have been an array of inspiring gatherings which preluded this summit, notably the G20 summit that historically admitted the African Union as a member, the 15th BRICS Summit that announced its expansion to include six more countries, and the significant China-Africa Leaders' Dialogue that rolled out new initiatives and plans to help the African continent with economic integration and modernization.
As one striking highlight of these gatherings indicates, never before have the Global South countries been brought to the fore like this, their needs heeded so much, and their voices amplified and put on repeat with China being a major driving force behind these endeavors.
At this year's G77+China Summit, which brought together delegations from over 100 countries, China is not only working to pool resources and build consensus for inclusive growth, but also rallying forces for solidarity against cascading crises.
China has, as always, been supporting G77's just positions and legitimate demands, as well as championing an expanding joint commitment to multilateralism, cooperation and development, which pledges to leave no country behind.
Once a victim of colonialism itself, China has greater empathy for and stands in deeper solidarity with fellow Global South countries. Many in the Global South are left with an unhealed past and a fateful future compounded by unilateral sanctions and protectionist curbs from the West.
Sharing the aspiration for independence and self-improvement, China is keenly aware that Global South countries need greater say on key issues including the reforms of the United Nations and its agencies, fair play on climate change, and a more just and equitable international order.
From the Bandung Conference back in 1955 to groupings with expanded memberships and the iconic Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative, China has, for decades, been harnessing existing platforms for real results, propelling reforms of obsolete institutions and building new podiums for the Global South.
"China has maintained a systematic and consistent policy supporting the multilateral bloc (G77)," Eduardo Regalado, a senior researcher at the International Policy Research Center of Cuba, told Xinhua.
Regalado said that China has provided Global South countries with the means to express their needs, promote a collective economic interest and improve their joint negotiation capacity.
Li Xi, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the special representative of Chinese President Xi Jinping, said at the summit, "China remains committed to building an open, inclusive and mutually beneficial system for South-South scientific and technological cooperation. And China will be more open in our thinking and actions with regard to international exchanges and cooperation in science, technology and innovation, so that all countries can equally benefit from digital dividends."
China underscores a pressing need to leverage digital and tech collaboration to bridge development gaps and safeguard global equity, particularly when a handful of countries monopolize the majority of patents, technologies and research centers globally, and squeeze the development space of other countries.
As a developing country and a member of the Global South, China has invariably stood in solidarity with fellow developing countries through thick and thin, pursuing a shared future with them, where they are no longer sidelined and their legitimate demand and concerns no longer relegated to the footnotes of geopolitics, or even wilfully rejected.
China is a constant in the changing global dynamics as its stable growth is underpinned by a development track record of reform and opening-up as well as poverty alleviation, and is reassured with the resolve in boosting domestic consumption and pursuing quality development.
On top of contributing to the global economy with its own growth, China remains a staunch supporter for multilateralism, peace and common development.
However its economy fares or the international landscape evolves, China will always be a member of the Global South.
The views don't necessarily reflect those of Qiushi Journal.