GP Short Notes # 646, 10 July 2022
On 7 July, Indonesia hosted the Group of 20 (G20) foreign ministers’ meeting in Bali.
China and Russia at G20
On 7 July, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and noted that the countries had overcome obstacles and maintained normality in exchanges while pushing for cooperation in various fields. Wang said that the continuation of healthy ties portrayed the resilient relations between China and Russia. Wang referred to the challenges in the world order and said: “Facing the realities of the current international politics, will countries choose to pursue power politics and hegemony, or promote a multi-polar world? Wang asked. Will they truly uphold the international order with the UN at its core or follow the rules made by a handful of countries according to their standards?”
The Russian narrative sees the G20 summit as a farce. Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, left the meeting before the end, and the US counterpart was seen delivering insults. The G20 is seen as something that achieved no results on issues vital to today's world. The conflict between Russia and the West has dampened the spirits of the meeting. Russian experts say that the organisation that helped overcome the 2008 financial crisis will not be able to address the energy and food challenges that the world currently faces.
Global Food Security
Wang Yi addressed the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and proposed a cooperative initiative on global food security. Wang Yi stressed the importance of food and energy in the healthy performance of the world economy and in the journey towards achieving the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Wang Yi made eight proposals to achieve the goal. First, strengthening and supporting the role of the United Nations and its supporting institutions such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Second, removing restrictions on humanitarian purchases made by the WFP. Third, including agricultural products from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Fourth, revealing and expanding the export potential of capable countries, reducing trade barriers and bringing efficiency to producing food. Fifth, emergency measures for food trade should adhere to the rules of the World Trade Organization while ensuring short-term plans, transparent deals, target and appropriate sale. Sixth, restrictions on high-tech exchanges must be reduced, and countries must share agricultural innovation and expand cooperation on related technologies. Seventh, reduce food waste and implement the consensus reached the International Conference on Food Loss and Waste. Eighth, extending a helping hand to developing countries in increasing their production capabilities, and storage facilities and assisting in agricultural processes.
China on Ukraine at G20
Wang Yi also spoke about the Ukraine crisis and highlighted China’s concerns. On behalf of the country, Wang Yi opposed instigating the cold war mentality, comparing the crisis in Ukraine with the status of Taiwan and opposed the imposition of sanctions against China and other countries. He called for increased solidarity and dialogue rather than division and confrontation. Taking a stand against double standards, Wang Yi opposed countries for raising the question of China’s sovereignty over Taiwan and urged all countries to adhere to the one-China principle. He said: “China's three points of concern clearly show that hegemony is not welcome in handling global affairs, and hegemony is also the essential reason for the prolonged conflict between Russia and Ukraine.”
China and the EU at G20
Wang Yi also met with the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and encouraged the European countries to uphold the multilateral practices and the basic orientation of their comprehensive strategic partnership. He further urged the EU to maintain the positive momentum of dialogue while keeping away from issues that widen the differences with China. He said: “China and the EU should adhere to the mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation, uphold true multilateralism and oppose any acts that trumpet decoupling and violate the law of the economy. Both sides should reject zero-sum games, instigation of bloc confrontation and attempts to stoke a new Cold War.”
China and Argentina at G20
The Foreign Minister also met with the Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero and reassured support for strengthening coordination and increasing cooperation along the Belt and Road Initiative. Wang stressed the close relationship between the two countries' leaders and appreciated Argentina’s friendly policies towards China. He said: “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, and China is willing to work with Argentina to advance the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road, helping accelerate their respective development and revitalization.”
China and South Korea at G20
Wang Yi also held a meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and agreed to expand bilateral cooperation and deepen exchanges between the countries. The countries are celebrating 30 years of diplomatic relations this year. Wang noted the abundance of opportunities but also the existence of practical challenges that face the countries in the coming years. He said: “As close neighbors and inseparable partners with closely-related security environment and an industrial cycle of converging interests, China and South Korea should uphold the already reached consensus and understanding, and maintain the stability and continuity of their policies towards each other.”
China and Canada at G20
Wang Yi met with Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and promised to work towards bringing the bilateral relations back on track. During the meeting, Wang Yi reiterated that China never viewed Canada as a rival or a threat but only as a partner. He said: “A sound and stable China-Canada relationship is the common aspiration of the two peoples and serves the common interests of both sides. China hopes that Canada will respect facts, be cautious in words and deeds on China-related issues, and work with China to meet each other halfway to build mutual trust to bring China-Canada relations back on track.” He further stressed the countries’ support for similar ideals and common interests, such as advocating for multilateralism, democratizing international relations and safeguarding globalization.
China and France at G20
Wang Yi held a meeting with the French Foreign Minister Matherine Colonna in Bali on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The countries agreed to enhance strategic cooperation and deepen pragmatic collaboration while appreciating the stable development of the bilateral ties under the heads of the states. At the meeting, Wang Yi said: “China cherishes the mutual trust and friendship between the two sides, and highly appreciates and firmly supports France for upholding strategic autonomy.” The Foreign Ministers promised to strengthen cooperation on climate change and biodiversity conservation and also discussed China’s relations with the European Union, the Ukraine war, the Korean Peninsula and other issues of mutual interest. Wang Yi expressed that China expects France to play a constructive role in building and maintaining the country’s relations with the EU.
Australia at G20
The Foreign Minister of Australia, Penny Wong announced that the country would attempt to end the trade blockages and seek to defrost the icy relations with China. Wong said: “We all know we have our differences. There are challenges in the relationship. We believe engagement is necessary to stabilise the relationship. We won't be making any concessions regarding Australia's interests. We don't believe those blockages are in our interests. We would say to China, they are not in China's interests.”
India at G20
On 7 July, Indian External Affairs Ministers met the Chinese Foreign Minister and Russian Foreign Minister on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Bali. Indian Minister tweeted: “Met FM Sergey Lavrov of Russia on the sidelines of the Bali #G20FMM. Discussed bilateral matters of mutual interest. Also exchanged views on contemporary regional and international issues including the Ukraine conflict and Afghanistan.” He tweeted the same day: “Began my day in Bali by meeting FM Wang Yi of China. The discussion lasted one hour. Focused on specific outstanding issues in our bilateral relationship pertaining to the border situation. Also spoke about other matters including students and flights.”
Wang Yi appreciated the neighbouring country for maintaining communication and exchanges, effectively managing differences and encouraging the momentum of recovery in the overall bilateral relations. Wang said that China and India would not follow the West in their ideologies as they had common interests and similar claims. According to Wang, the countries were destined to uphold strategic persistence and achieve their own goals in the international order. He said: “We need to take concrete actions to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, being each other's partner, not posing a threat to each other and being a mutual development opportunity, bringing bilateral relations back on the right track as early as possible.”