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Interview: China playing pivotal role in addressing world challenges: former Australian deputy PM
Last Updated: 2017-06-06 08:37 | Xinhua
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China has played a pivotal role in addressing world challenges, from climate change to economic difficulties, a former Australian government official has said.

Wayne Swan, who served as both the Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Treasurer in the Rudd and Gillard governments, spoke to Xinhua recently and said there are many challenges, economic and otherwise, that are facing China, and the rest of the world.

"The biggest one is climate change," Swan said.

"The other really big challenge is to maintain momentum in global growth, and whilst the Chinese economy is successfully making its transition from investment driven growth to consumer driven growth, everyone needs sustained lift across the developed world to further maintain, and further extend, global growth."

China has played a pivotal role in facing these challenges, according to the former leader, who said that the ratification of the climate treaty in Paris by China, was a "welcome" and crucial decision to ensure that environmental conservation is at the forefront of Chinese policy, and thus setting a global example.

This commitment to the environment has been demonstrated by China just this week, with inspection teams across the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region examining over 300 companies, which led to China's Ministry of Environmental Protection ordering local officials to shut down those who are in breach of the environmental standards on Monday.

While setting a strong example in relation to environmental issues, China has also been at the forefront of economic guidance in the Asia-Pacific, and Swan said that this is very encouraging.

"The constructive attitudes that were shown at the Paris accords, and active participation in international financial institutions, including new ones that China has been instrumental in establishing, is important." Swan said.

Institutions such as the New Development Bank, and the Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank, which according to David Thomas, a leading global finance expert and President of the Australia China SME Association, are examples of China's emergence as a global leader.

Thomas said recently that as part of China's membership in the BRICS partnership of nations, these institutions that have been formed with their guidance have been critical to the ongoing success of the Asia-Pacific region, and operate independently from the more traditional, or established global entities.

However, Swan believes that more needs to be done within this emerging region, and suggested that more attention needs to be directed towards the Asia-Pacific by the rest of the Western world, as the region is a hub for future global development and growth.

"My perspective on South East Asia is we need to develop the developing countries and work together with the Asia-Pacific," Swan said.

"In total the Asia Pacific is close to the majority of GDP of the world, and it is where the great bulk of where the future population growth is going to come."

"Therefore solving the structural economic challenges we find in our economies is a very important thing to do if you want to see rising living standards across the world," he added.

In terms of the future of the global policy framework and coordination, Swan outlined the ways in which he hopes that the focus could be shifted towards outcomes that benefitted the majority of people around the globe, rather than a privileged few.

"I would love to see the G20 step up to the plate and tackle head on the issues of inclusive growth and deal more actively with the policy reforms required to put an end to increasingly unequal distribution of wealth and income within countries," Swan said.

"I think we've seen when we ignore the distributional impacts of globalisation, it is at our peril."

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