What to expect from the G20 meeting in Bali

IIndonesia is bringing the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies to its paradise island of Bali for a two-day summit from November 15-16 to discuss how they can work together to build a more stable future. But while this year’s summit has a post-pandemic theme of “Recover Together, Rebuild Stronger,” geopolitical divisions take center stage.

The chairman of the summit, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, hoped the meeting would provide an opportunity for some of the world’s biggest powers to put aside their differences to focus on addressing the pressing global challenges of the ongoing health risks of COVID- 19, the looming economic recession, and sustainable development. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with the energy and food supply crises it has exacerbated, has cast a shadow over the G20. As well as rising tensions between China and the United States.

“The G20 is not meant to be a political forum,” said Jokowi, as the Indonesian leader is known. “It’s meant to be about economics and development.”

Read more: The quagmire in Ukraine makes Russia a less valuable ally for others

As part of a tour to emphasize the importance of attending the summit, Jokowi visited Moscow and Kyiv earlier this year. Hoping to encourage inclusive dialogue, he rejected pressure to exclude Russia from this year’s summit and extended an invitation to Volodymyr Zelensky, president of non-member state Ukraine. But Zelensky has announced that he will not attend the summit if Russia’s Vladimir Putin is there, and other Western leaders have abandoned the idea of ​​sharing a table with Putin. Last week, officials confirmed that Russia will send a foreign minister to Bali in place of Putin; spokesman for Zelensky said Ukraine’s leader is likely to attend virtually.

While much attention was paid in the run-up to whether Putin and Zelensky would appear, the personal presence of US President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping also looks set to overshadow the main event. The dueling superpower leaders will meet face to face for the first time in Biden’s presidency before Monday’s summit. The meeting comes amid increasingly strained relations between the two governments over disagreements over trade policy, human rights, Ukraine and Taiwan.

Observers believe Jokowi intended the G20 presidency to be his main project to boost the international profile of Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country and the first Southeast Asian nation to host the summit. But with this year’s summit overshadowed by so many other factors, analysts believe Indonesia now just wants to get it over with and pass the torch to India, which will host next year’s summit.

This was said by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi Reuters earlier this month how difficult it was to organize the summit against such a difficult geopolitical situation. “This may be the most difficult of all the G20,” she said.

“They didn’t sign up for it,” Gregory Pauling, senior fellow and director of the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said at a news conference last week. “It’s been a tough year.”

What is the G20?

The Group of 20, or G-20, is a council of 19 countries and the European Union, which meets to discuss the main problems facing the world economy. Together, the G20 accounts for more than 80% of the world’s total economic output, 60% of the Earth’s population and 75% of world trade.

Established in 1999 as a result of G7 in response to the international debt crises of the time, the G20 aims to ensure global economic and political security through discussions among its members, as well as an annual summit of finance ministers and, since 2008, heads of state.

The chairmanship and housekeeping duties of the G20 rotate between member states each year.

What are the leading themes for this year?

The 2022 G20 summit comes as the world draws closer global recession. The countries’ central banks are raising interest rates to curb inflation, but prices are struggling to return to pre-pandemic levels. The World Bank reports that these increases, combined with stress in financial markets, could cause global GDP growth to slow to 0.5% next yearwhich would destabilize major economies and significantly slow down poverty reduction in developing countries.

Disruptions related to COVID-19, especially in China, have also rattled international supply chains – causing trade disruptions and hampering global economic activity. And the world is headed for a twin crisis of food and energy security stemming from regional conflicts, including the war in Ukraine, and natural disasters exacerbated by climate change.

Read more: The future of the world is in the hands of Chinese President Xi Jinping

As part of its presidency of the G20, Indonesia too set three clear priorities on the agenda: strengthening the global health infrastructure, ensuring an inclusive transformation of the digital economy and promoting a sustainable energy transition.

What effect is the Ukrainian-Russian conflict having on the G20?

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Indonesian President Joko Widodo after a press conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, June 30, 2022. (Vyacheslav Prokofiev—Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Indonesian President Joko Widodo after a press conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, June 30, 2022.

Vyacheslav Prokofiev—Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images

Furthermore overturning the liberal international orderthe Russian invasion of Ukraine caused a global energy crisis and exacerbated the world food crisis.

The G20 summit and related meetings earlier this year became a forum for other member states to voice their grievances against Russia. At a G20 meeting in April, finance ministers from the US, UK and Canada staged a walkout as Russian envoys spoke. In another G20 meeting in July to lay the groundwork for this week’s summit, diplomats present failed to produce a customary group communique because of bitterness over Russia’s responsibility for the war’s impact on the world. And in September, efforts to reach multilateral resolutions on education and climate also collapsed over condemnation of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who came out of the July meetings, will attend this week’s leadership summit on Putin’s behalf and is likely to remain a controversial figure and focus of scorn.

How will US-China relations play a role in the summit?

The G20 summit offers a rare opportunity for Biden and Xi to meet in person. Biden arrives in Bali after midterm elections surprisingly good for the Democratic Partywhile Si is simple secured a norm-breaking third term head of the ruling Communist Party weeks earlier. But tensions are rising between the two governments, which are expected to present opposing ideals and visions of the global economy at the first multilateral assembly, where both presidents will attend.

China has urged Indonesia to keep politics out of the G20, but divisions over Russia are likely to be an inevitable flashpoint. The country has taken a strategically less aggressive position towards Moscow than its Western counterparts would like, and that repulsed against calls in March to withdraw Russia from the G20. “The UN Security Council is the right platform to discuss political and security issues,” said China’s foreign minister it said in a statement In May. “The G20 should remain in its role, focusing on macroeconomic policy coordination and fulfilling its proper mission.”

biden, according to officials who spoke to Reutersplans to be “relentless” at the G20 in defense of Ukraine and criticism of Russia for its responsibility for the war’s impact on food and energy security.

Biden and Xi are also using the G20 summit in Bali to hold a bilateral meeting on Monday in which Taiwan is expected to be high on the agenda. Other issues, including climate change, trade policy and the treatment of Muslim Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang province, are also points of contention. Biden said he hoped the meeting would offer each side clarity on where the other’s “red lines” were.

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