Top representatives from the world’s 20 largest economies now arrived in Bali, Indonesia Monday, November 14, for the G20 Summit. This is the first world economic meeting of world leaders in a post-pandemic set-up, in fact it is the biggest gathering by world leaders since the pandemic began. Among those in attendance are US Pres. Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping.
As the world continues to feel the effect of the pandemic, now layered up with food and fuel prices as well as the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the sabre-rattling of nuclear war threat, G20 leaders had a lot of things set at the table.
The anticipated face-off of US and China will nonetheless be highlighted as the two world superpowers have previously thrown shades at each other due to their economic and military interest in Asia, prompting tensions.
Pres. Biden has opened up about the said meeting with Pres. XI Jinping established each country’s “red lines” in a bid to defuse confrontation and conflict.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that Biden would be “totally straightforward and direct” with Xi and expect the same in return.
Officials say that the US president will also push China to control its ally, North Korea after a record-breaking spate of missile tests sent fears that Pyongyang will soon carry out its seventh nuclear test.
But apparently, reports said that China’s Xi may be in no mood to assist. He entered the meeting buoyed from recently securing a landmark third term in office, putting him as the most powerful Chinese leader for generations.
Biden has been given moral boosting as the result of the US election revealed that his Democratic Party retained control of the US Senate. This is after performing better than expected at the midterm elections but on the downside, his domestic politics remains febrile.
Absent in the meeting was Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Both wealthy and developing members of G20 have shared its own respective experience when it comes to handling soaring energy and food prices. Report said that there’s likely to be pressure on Russia to extend a deal allowing Ukrainian grain and fertilizer shipments through the Black Sea when the current agreement expires on November 19.
Also, at a minimum, Biden and his allies reportedly would like to see the G20 make a clear message to Putin that nuclear war is unacceptable.
Moreover, in a recent meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Xi said that a nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought. Ryan Hass, a former director for China at the US National Security Council, said Xi “likely will not be as magnanimous in his meeting with Biden”.
Hass told AFP that “He will not want to be perceived as satisfying a request from Biden, whether on Ukraine, nuclear use, North Korea, or any other issue,”.
The G20 has always been most comfortable discussing finance and economics rather than security.
Meanwhile, Indonesia, the host of the G20 Summit is in the balancing act by carefully not to side with either China or the United States.
Before the Bali meeting, there were a string of G20 ministerial meetings in the run-up to the summit that failed to agree on a final joint communique which is a procedural-sounding tradition that can be important in driving cooperation.
Indonesian government minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said before the summit proper. “Honestly, I think the global situation has never been this complex,”
“If eventually (the G20) leaders do not produce a communique, that’s that, it’s ok.” Pandjaitan added.