G20 summit sees continuation of status quo

The G20 (Group of 20) summit was held in Bali, Indonesia, earlier this week. The meeting saw world leaders discuss, among other issues, the environment, inflation, and the war in Ukraine. Despite doubts due to heightened tensions this year, the present states were able to produce a joint statement from the summit.

The Group of 20 brings together: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, and the USA.

A key point of discussion this year was the war in Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose country is not a member of the G20, attended the summit by remote video. He told the attendees, “There is a terrorist state among you, and we are defending ourselves against it. That is the reality”

Russia’s President Putin did not attend, with his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, leading the Russian presence this year.

While the G20 met, a missile landed in Poland, killing two people. While many western media pundits and politicians worked immediately to blame Russia, calling for NATO intervention and escalation of the war, it was quickly announced to have in fact come from Ukraine. 

Despite this scare, the G20 member states managed to end the summit with a joint declaration, one that “deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine.” 

The statement did manage to acknowledge that “there were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions,” but stopped short of directly criticising NATO provocations in the same kind of language. This is certainly not surprising from a statement of this kind.

The summit also saw Chinese President Xi Jinping come down hard on Canadian President Justin Trudeau for leaking details of their conversation to the press. President Xi told him, “Everything we’ve talked about has been leaked to the papers, that’s not appropriate.” And that’s not the way the conversation was conducted. “If there is sincerity, we can talk with mutual respect, otherwise, it is hard to tell.”

President Xi met with US President Joe Biden on Monday. From this discussion, President Xi noted, “The world expects that China and the United States will properly handle the relationship.”

Biden offered similar sentiments, hoping the two countries could “manage our differences” and “prevent competition from becoming conflict.”

Yet Biden says this as the head of a state that continues to meddle in China’s domestic affairs. Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, recently travelled to Taiwan in an extremely provocative move. 

This is after US troops were already proven to be working in Taiwan, training soldiers there. If the US government is really seeking to avoid conflict, they have a strange way of going about it.

President Biden also met with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, where they discussed matters including the Northern Ireland protocol and the Aukus (Australia-UK- US) alliance. The two shared their intent to resolve any issues around the NI protocol by the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, this coming April.

Leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, in line with previous international commitments. Words mean very little, however; it is actions that count, and the reality is that many of these states aren’t doing enough on the climate. 

A recent UN Environment Programme report, published ahead of COP27, found that existing climate plans globally would reduce carbon emissions by no more than 10% by 2030. To achieve the 1.5 target, it would require a reduction of 45% in this eight year period. 

It would not be the first time politicians, especially in western capitalist nations, promised something and simply did not deliver. So the reaffirmation of these commitments should not leave us too optimistic. Our leaders will only make the necessary changes if we, the working class, force them to.

Mia English, is the Challenge’s News Editor

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