Russia Cannot Be Expelled From G20, Says China

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China today said Russia cannot be expelled from the G20 after Washington raised the prospect of excluding Moscow from the group. Beijing described Russia as an ‘important member’ of the G20 in the latest sign of China providing a level of diplomatic protection to the country, which is increasingly isolated over its invasion of Ukraine, reports Daily Mail.

China and Russia’s relationship

‘The G20 is the main forum for international economic cooperation,’ Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters. ‘Russia is an important member, and no member has the right to expel another country.’

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin declared a relationship of ‘no limits’ following a visit by the Russian President to Beijing for the Winter Olympics.

Wang’s comments follow a briefing by a top Washington security advisor on Tuesday indicating the US will lead pressure on Russia to be cut from international forums over its invasion of its neighbour.

‘On the question of the G20, I will just say this: We believe that it cannot be business as usual for Russia in international institutions and in the international community,’ Jake Sullivan White House National Security Advisor said.

The likelihood that any bid to exclude Russia outright would be vetoed by others in the club – which includes China, India, Saudi Arabia and others – raised the prospect of some countries instead skipping G20 meetings this year, sources involved in the discussions of whether to bar Russia from the group said.

Expelling Russia

The G20 along with the smaller Group of Seven – comprising just the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and Britain – is a key international platform for coordinating everything from climate change action to cross-border debt.

Putin still intends to attend the next G20 summit on the Indonesian resort island of Bali in November, Russia’s ambassador to Indonesia said.

‘It will depend on many, many things, including the COVID situation, which is getting better. So far, his intention is… he wants to,’ Ambassador Lyudmila Vorobieva told a news conference.

Asked about suggestions Russia could be kicked out of the G20, she said it was a forum to discuss economic issues and not a crisis like Ukraine.

‘Of course expulsion of Russia from this kind of forum will not help these economic problems to be resolved. On the contrary, without Russia it would be difficult to do so.’

China, which has not condemned Russia’s invasion and criticised Western sanctions, defended Moscow on Wednesday, calling Russia an ‘important member’ of the G20.

The G20 is a group that needs to find answers to critical issues, such as economic recovery from the Covid pandemic, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

About the criticism        

China has faced criticism from the West and US for its refusal to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden last week warned his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping there would be ‘consequences’ if Beijing provides support to Russia during its invasion of Ukraine.

The move comes after it emerged that Russia has asked China for military equipment to bolster their offensive against Ukraine.

In the nearly two-hour video call between Biden and Jinping, the US President ‘described the implications and consequences if China provides material support to

Brutal attacks 

Russia as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians,’ the White House said in a readout of the conversation.

The call was part of the administration’s effort to keep China from providing a lifeline to Putin, who is becoming increasingly isolated since he invaded Ukraine nearly a month ago and whose economy has crashed as a result of Western sanctions.

Washington has not observed any Chinese arms shipments to Russia since Biden held the call with Jinping last week, Sullivan said.

‘We have not seen… the provision of military equipment by China to Russia. But of course, this is something we are monitoring closely,’ he said.

Relations between China and Russia have warmed in recent years. Putin and Jinping met in Beijing in February when the Russian president was in town for the opening of the Winter Olympic Games.

China initially seemed to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Jinping denouncing ‘NATO’s eastward expansion’ – which has been Moscow’s position.

Beijing also initially refused to refer to a ‘war’ or ‘invasion’ in Ukraine, instead preferring Moscow’s description of a ‘special military operation’.

But as the tide of the conflict has turned against Putin’s men and the civilian death toll has mounted, Chinese diplomats have slowly dropped their support.

Wang Yi, the foreign minister, said last week that China ‘laments’ the conflict and the civilian death toll, before referring to it as a ‘war’ for the first time.

Beijing also has offered to act as mediator between Russia and the Ukraine but it also denounced trade and financial sanctions against Russia.

The U.S. is urging China to use its close ties with Moscow to help convince Putin to back down.

China’s influence

‘We believe China in particular has a responsibility to use its influence with President Putin and to defend the international rules and principles that it professes to support,’ said US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

‘Instead, it appears that China is moving in the opposite direction by refusing to condemn this aggression, while seeking to portray itself as a neutral arbiter.’

Since Putin barbarically invaded Ukraine last month, Russia is facing a slew of international sanctions led by Western countries aiming at isolating it from the global economy, including shutting it out of the SWIFT global bank messaging system and restricting dealings by its central bank.

On Tuesday, Poland said it had suggested to U.S. commerce officials that it replace Russia within the G20 group and that the suggestion had received a ‘positive response’.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said G20 members would have to decide but the issue was not a priority now.

‘When it comes to the question of how to proceed with the WTO (World Trade Organization) and the G20, it is imperative to discuss this question with the countries that are involved and not to decide individually,’ Scholz said.

‘It is quite clear that we are busy with something else than coming together in such meetings. We urgently need a ceasefire.’

Participation of Russia

Russia’s participation in the G20 is almost certain to be discussed on Thursday, when U.S. President Joe Biden meets allies in Brussels.

‘We believe that it cannot be business as usual for Russia in international institutions and in the international community,’ U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.

A European Union source separately confirmed the discussions about Russia’s status at G20 meetings.

‘It has been made very clear to Indonesia that Russiaâs presence at forthcoming ministerial meetings would be highly problematic for European countries,’ said the source, adding there was, however, no clear process for excluding a country.

Indonesia’s deputy central bank governor, Dody Budi Waluyo, said on Monday Jakarta’s position was one of neutrality and it would use its G20 leadership to try to resolve problems, but Russia had a ‘strong commitment’ to attend and other members could not forbid it from doing so.

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Source: Daily Mail

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