Senior international posts show increasing Chinese role

Updated: 2011-07-30 09:52

By Qin Zhongwei and Ma Liyao (China Daily)

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Experts say more appointments to senior positions at int'l agencies to be expected

BEIJING - The recent appointments of Chinese individuals to senior posts in international organizations symbolize the growing importance of the country, its economy and the increasing role of developing economies in international affairs.

Zhu Min, the special adviser to the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and former deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, officially took up his post on Tuesday as the IMF's deputy managing director, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Zhu's appointment is the fourth time in IMF history that the organization has had a deputy chief position.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, proposed Zhu's nomination on July 12.

She said that Zhu had great experience in government, international policymaking and financial markets and was highly skilled in management and communication.

The international media has also given Zhu high marks as an economist and special adviser at the IMF.

A May article in the UK's The Daily Telegraph said that Zhu has the ability to "see through conventional wisdom". The article also mentioned that Zhu in 2007 warned of the dangers of sub-prime mortgages.

Chinese individuals are also being promoted to senior posts at other international organizations, which have usually been held by leaders from developed countries.

In 2008, Justin Yifu Lin was appointed vice-president and chief economist of World Bank. In 2007, Sha Zukang was appointed under-secretary-general of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Chinese women such as Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, and Zhang Yuejiao, China's first female justice of the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization, have kept pace with their male counterparts.

These officials have demonstrated solid experience in their respective fields, familiarity with Western culture and foreign language skills, all of which are critical to their success, according to Zhang Shengjun, a professor of international relations at Beijing Normal University.

These high-level appointments come at the heel of China's economic growth following the start of the financial crisis in 2008, Jim O'Neill, Goldman Sachs' chief economist, told the Chinese newspaper Legal Evening News.

Zhu's appointment reflects the growth of China and developing economies as a whole, according to Tian Dewen, a researcher of European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

China took positive and effective measures in dealing with the financial crisis, he said.

The country has also been the biggest driving force for the world economy in the past two years, which has demonstrated its ability to be a responsible nation, Tian said.

"Zhu's appointment is only the beginning. In the long run, the role of China and other developing economies will keep rising and the geopolitical system will therefore become more multi-polar," he said.

Zhai Hua, an official at the Asian Development Bank, also expects that there will be more appointments of Chinese nationals to senior posts at international organizations in the future.

"But taking into account the nation's population, the ratio of high-level Chinese appointments is still quite low, which means there is still a large space for increasing involvement in international affairs in the future," Zhang from Beijing Normal University said.


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