September 10, 2023

G20 Summit concludes without condemning Russia for Ukrain war

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

The G20 Summit held in India on Saturday eventually adopted a joint declaration with a neutral stance on the Ukraine war, which caused rising divergences among the members.

The joint declaration this year shows no direct condemnation of Russia over the Ukraine crisis, which is different from the one in 2022. 

"Concerning the war in Ukraine, while recalling the discussion in Bali, we reiterated our national positions and resolutions adopted at the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly," the declaration read, noting that "In line with the UN Charter, all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible." 

Tellingly, the joint declaration at the summit in Bali, Indonesia 2022 said: "Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy…”

Li Haidong, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Sunday that the joint declaration this year shows a very basic consensus among the members, and it also proves that the power of developing countries and non-Western economies in this multilateral mechanism is rising, as they are able to preserve neutrality as a joint stance of the G20, preventing the mechanism from being completely controlled and hijacked by Western narratives and positions. 

The declaration in Indonesia included the tough words that the West wanted to include, but the facts prove that these words were not helpful at all for the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, due to their unrealistic and selfish policy on the crisis, peace efforts are in difficulties, and the bloodshed and conflict in Ukraine are still far from over, the expert said. 

Interestingly, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who never missed a G20 summit since taking power in 2012, did not attend the New Delhi summit. He sent Premier Li Qiang who stressed the need to establish more practical cooperation mechanisms, take concrete actions and support developing countries in better addressing development challenges such as poverty reduction, fundraising, climate change and food and energy security.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also did not attend the summit. He even did not send a video message to the Delhi summit as he did few weeks ago for the BRICS summit in South Africa. Putin is hosting the Eastern Economic Forum, which started Sunday in Vladivostok.

Xi’s plan to reshape global governance

According to CNN, Xi’s expected no-show at the G20 could also signal his disillusion with the existing global system of governance – and structures he sees as too dominated by American influence. Instead, Xi may be prioritizing multilateral forums that fit into China’s own vision for how the world should be governed – such as the recently concluded BRICS summit and the upcoming Belt and Road Forum.

“There may be an element of a deliberate snub to India, but it could also be a statement that there are different governance structures Xi Jinping thinks are important – and the G20 may not be one of them,” George Magnus, an economist and associate at the China Center at Oxford University, told CNN.

Beijing has bristled at New Delhi’s growing ties with Washington, especially its engagement in the Quad – a US-led security grouping decried by Beijing as an “Indo-Pacific NATO.”

“China sees India in the anti-China camp and therefore doesn’t want to add value to a major international summit India is organizing,” Happymon Jacob, a professor of international studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, told CNN.

The expanded BRICS is an example of the alternative governance structure Beijing wants to build – it includes some of the most important countries in the Global South, with China taking a central role, Magnus said adding:

“Initiatives like the Belt and Road, BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – in which Beijing is either a founder or a major player – now have a much elevated status in China. These entities exist as alternative structures to the ones which China has traditionally joined and had to share the limelight with the United States.”

As of August 2023, 155 countries were listed as having signed up to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The participating countries include almost 75% of the world's population and account for more than half of the world's GDP.

The addition of six new members to the BRICS grouping will see it controlling 46 per cent of the world's population and 30 per cent of its economic output. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa last month decided to add Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as new members of the grouping.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, international security and defense organization established by China and Russia in 2001. It is the world's largest regional organization in terms of geographic scope and population, covering approximately 60% of the area of Eurasia and 40% of the world population. The SCO members are: China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, and Tajikistan.

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America ( email: asghazali2011 (@)

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 The Journal of America Team:

 Editor in chief:
Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Senior Editor:
Prof. Arthur Scott

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