HomeWorld NewsUkraine war, tensions with China loom over big Bali summit

Ukraine war, tensions with China loom over big Bali summit

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NUSA DUA, Indonesia (AP) — A showdown between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin is not taking place, but the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and escalating tensions between China and the West will come to the fore as leaders of the economies biggest in the world. meet in tropical Bali this week.

Members of the Group of 20 start talks on the Indonesian resort island on Tuesday under the hopeful theme of “recover together, recover stronger”. While Putin stays awayBiden will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and meet the new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Italian Giorgia Meloni.

The summit’s official health, sustainable energy and digital transformation priorities are likely to be overshadowed by fears of a faltering global economy and geopolitical tensions centered on the war in Ukraine.

The nearly nine-month conflict has disrupted trade in oil, natural gas and grain, and shifted much of the summit’s focus to food and energy security.

Meanwhile, the US and its allies in Europe and Asia are increasingly facing off against a more assertive China, leaving emerging G-20 economies like India, Brazil and host Indonesia on the tightrope between powers. bigger.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has tried to close the gaps within the G-20 over the war in Ukraine. Widodo, also known as Jokowi, became the first Asian leader since the invasion to visit Russia and Ukraine in the summer..

He invited President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine, who is not a member of the G-20, to join the summit. Zelenskyy is expected to participate, probably online.

“One of Jokowi’s priorities is to ease the tension of war and geopolitical risk,” said Bhima Yudhistira, director of the Center for Economic and Legal Studies in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

Last year’s G-20 summit in Rome was the first in-person meeting of members since the pandemic, although the leaders of Russia and China did not attend.

This year’s event is on the sidelines of the United Nations climate conference in Egypt and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Cambodia, which Biden and some other G20 leaders will attend, and the meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Thailand right after.

The US president promised to work with Southeast Asian nations on Saturday.saying “we are going to build a better future that we all want to see” in a region where China is working to increase its influence.

One specific question looming over the Bali summit is whether Russia will agree to extend the UN’s Black Sea Grain Initiative, which is due to be renewed on November 19.

The July deal allowed Ukraine, a major global grain producer, to resume exports from ports that had been largely blocked for months due to the war. Russia briefly withdrew from the deal late last month after its Black Sea fleet came under attack, only to rejoin days later.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Saturday called for more pressure on Russia. to extend the deal, saying Moscow must “stop playing hunger games with the world.”

As leaders grapple with conflict and geopolitical tensions, they face the risk that efforts to control inflation will snuff out post-pandemic recoveries or trigger debilitating financial crises.

The repercussions of the war are felt from the most remote villages in Asia and Africa to the most modern industries. It has amplified disruptions to energy supplies, shipping and food security, driving prices up sharply and complicating efforts to stabilize the global economy in the aftermath of the pandemic upheavals.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres is urging the G-20 to provide financial aid for the developing world.

“My priority in Bali will be to defend the countries of the Global South that have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate emergency, and now face food, energy and financial crises, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and crushing. debt,” Guterres said.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts global growth of 2.7% in 2023, while estimates by private sector economists are as low as 1.5%, down from 3% this year, the slowest growth since the oil crisis of the early 1980s.

China has remained somewhat insulated from skyrocketing inflation, mainly because it is struggling to reverse an economic downturn that is weighing on global growth.

The Chinese economy, the second largest in the world, grew at a rate of 3.9% in the last quarter. But economists say activity is slowing under pressure from pandemic controls, a crackdown on tech companies and a downturn in real estate, a vital driver of demand and a source of millions of jobs.

Forecasters have slashed estimates of China’s annual economic growth to as low as 3%. That would be less than half last year’s 8.1% and the second lowest in decades.

Chinese President Xi will attend the summit buoyed by his appointment to a rare third term as party chairman., making him China’s strongest leader in decades. It is only his second trip abroad since early 2020, following a visit to Central Asia. where he met Putin in September.

Biden and Xi will hold their first in-person meeting since Biden became president in January 2021 on the sidelines of the event on Monday.

The United States is at odds with China on a number of issues, including human rights.technology and the future of the autonomous island of Taiwan. The United States sees China as its biggest global competitorAnd that rivalry is likely to grow as Beijing looks to expand its influence in the coming years.

The European Union is also reassessing its relationship with China. since it seeks to reduce its commercial dependence on the country.

Biden said he plans to speak with Xi on issues including Taiwan, trade policy and Beijing’s relationship with Russia..

“What I want to do … is expose what our red lines are,” Biden said last week.

Many developing economies are caught between fighting inflation and trying to recover from the pandemic. The economy of the host country, Indonesia, grew at a rate of 5.7% in the last quarter, one of the fastest among the G-20 nations.

But growth among resource exporters such as Indonesia is expected to cool as falling prices for oil, coal and other commodities end the windfall from last year’s price boom.

At a time when many countries are struggling to afford oil, gas and food imports while meeting debt payments, pressure is being put on those most vulnerable to climate change to double down on supply more sustainable energy.

In Bali, talks are also expected to focus on finding ways to speed up the transition from coal and other fossil fuels.

The G-20 was founded in 1999 originally as a forum to address economic challenges. Includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. Spain has a permanent guest seat.

Some bloc watchers, such as Josh Lipsky, a senior director at the Atlantic Council’s Center for Geoeconomics, question whether the G-20 can even function as geopolitical divisions grow.

“I am skeptical that it can survive in the long term in its current format,” he told a briefing last week.

That makes things especially difficult for host Indonesia.

“This is not the G-20 that they signed up for,” Lipsky said. “The last thing they wanted was to be in the middle of this geopolitical fight, this war in Europe, and be at their crossroads. But that’s where they are.”

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Associated Press writer Joe McDonald in Beijing contributed to this report.

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