SANTIAGO, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- A G20 summit to be hosted by the Chinese city of Hangzhou in September "couldn't have come at a better time," Chile's Ambassador to China Jorge Heine has said.
In an article published on Wednesday in Chilean daily La Tercera, the top diplomat stressed the relevance of the group of the "world's leading economies, which represent 85 percent of global GDP, 80 percent of international trade and 65 percent of the world population."
The G20, which is meeting amid a global economic slowdown, was established in 2008 amid a global financial crisis, "and played a key role in containing its worst impacts," said Heine, underscoring the timeliness of the upcoming summit.
Since then, "it has emerged as an important forum that brings the leaders of developed and emerging economies together around a single table," said Heine.
China's hosting of the summit, he said, is significant for two main reasons.
"This is the first time that China is serving as host, confirming the country's increasingly central role on the diplomatic circuit," Heine said.
In addition, choosing to hold the event in east China's Hangzhou, instead of one of the country's larger, more economically developed cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou, neatly encapsulates the message the Asian giant wants to send to the rest of the world.
"China is betting on innovation as a springboard for growth and development in coming years, and Hangzhou, an ancient imperial capital, is a great center of innovation. Among other things, it is home to the headquarters of Alibaba, the e-commerce giant," said Heine.
In fact, Jack Ma, its founder and president, is set "to play a starring role at the summit," which is taking place under the banner "Towards an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy."
According to Heine, conventional wisdom held that BRICS, the bloc of emerging economies formed in the early 2000s by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, was no more than a flash in the pan, and the Western economies would continue to be the central axis around which global finance and the world economy would spin.
However, "Brexit (Britain's decision to exit the European Union) and the protectionist and populist tendencies we see emerging in the United States and Europe show the error of this point of view," said the ambassador.
"The reality is that the world increasingly depends on the emerging economies, especially the Asian giants China and India," Heine said, adding foreign affairs expert and author Gideon Rachman highlights this trend in his recent book "Easternization: War and Peace in the Asian Century."
Between 1995 and 2005, international trade grew 6 percent a year, double the rate of global gross domestic product (GDP). But from 2012 to 2015, trade growth has failed to surpass 3 percent, noted Heine, adding that China is well-placed to spearhead the global drive to turn around the slowdown.
"China, one of the economies that have most benefited from globalization, is in a privileged position to promote an agenda of this type. It is about promoting innovation, increases in productivity, and a more open world economy," said Heine.
"If there is one thing the world does not need, it is to listen to the siren song of protectionism, which is heard so often these days in some developed countries," he added.
At the Sept.4-5 summit, Heine said, "China has the great opportunity to show its capacity to lead in the governance of the world economy."