Chinese foreign minister to attend G20 meet; Japan minister to give a miss

While India has held over a dozen G20 meetings so far, this will be the first time all foreign ministers gather

Subhayan Chakraborty New Delhi
Photo: Bloomberg

Photo: Bloomberg

Newly appointed Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang will attend the meeting of G20 foreign ministers in New Delhi on March 2, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. The confirmation of Gang’s first visit to India came even as reports from Japan suggested Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi would skip the summit in favour of domestic parliamentary engagements.
The government is working to ensure the first G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in India results in a joint communique, officials told Business Standard. Widening differences between Russia, China, and the western nations over the war in Ukraine have seen walkouts and diplomatic battles at previous such meets where no joint statements could be brought out.

This was the case also at the recently concluded G20 finance ministers and central bank governors’ meet in Bengaluru. While Russia had blamed the “confrontational” approach of the “collective West” over the situation in Ukraine, a chair’s summary was issued by India at the end of the meeting in its capacity as the holder of the G20 presidency.
As a result, all eyes will be on Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, both of whom are slated to participate in the summit later this week. Acrimony between the Western nations and Russia had led to Lavrov walking out of the same meeting in Bali, Indonesia, last year.

Officials said New Delhi remains committed to finding a way to incorporate all voices and forge a new partnership going forward. India would also stress on the need to discuss issues like climate change and debt of developing nations.
While India has held over a dozen G20 meetings so far, this will be the first time all foreign ministers gather. The outcome is set to establish a path towards the final G20 leaders’ summit in September, officials said.

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On Thursday, the ministers would attend two discussion sessions. The first one would focus on strengthening multilateralism & need for reforms, food & energy security, and development cooperation. The other one would see discussions on counter terrorism, global skill mapping & talent pool, and humanitarian disaster & disaster relief.
New Delhi will also host a meeting of the foreign ministers of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or QUAD nations — India, the United States, Australia, and Japan. The focus would remain strongly on the commitment to keeping the strategic region ‘free and open’, and further cementing ties with each other.

All four Quad ministers were initially expected to address a discussion panel for the first time at the 8th Raisina Dialogue. However, the Japanese government is yet to announce who would be attending in place of Hayashi. The meeting would also lay the groundwork for a planned meeting of Quad leaders’ in Australia this summer.

First Published: Feb 28 2023 | 7:14 PM IST

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