Thursday 16 Aug 2018 | 02:36 | SYDNEY
Thursday 16 Aug 2018 | 02:36 | SYDNEY

China wants a say, not just a seat


Sam Roggeveen


30 October 2008 12:30

Lowy Institute Executive Director Allan Gyngell has an op-ed in the Financial Review today. My attention was drawn to one particular paragraph, questioning how the world can govern itself more effectively:

Despite the end of the Cold War, despite the rise of Asia, the world's central institutions remain stubbornly resistant to change. States that possess power are notoriously reluctant to give it up. So year by year, outmoded structures like the United Nations Security Council or the G7 group of industrial powers or the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (in which the Benelux countries have a larger share of the votes than China) are being drained of their usefulness and their legitimacy.

My initial reaction was that, although it is certainly true that those who hold the upper hand in these institutions are reluctant to surrender it to China, what is China itself doing to grasp this influence? Is there much evidence that China even wants a leadership role? I see an answer of sorts in today's Australian:

EUROPE turned to Asia and the Middle East for help yesterday as the financial crisis threatened to overwhelm Hungary and other ailing European economies.After talks with other Western leaders, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged China and the oil-rich Gulf states to come up with hundreds of billions of dollars to aid countries struggling to survive.

Any help from Asia and the Middle East is likely to come at a high price. China, Japan and the Gulf states are demanding more say in the way the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are run. Both organisations are dominated by the US and western Europe.