Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi have said they look forward to getting negotiations going on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) for their two countries, covering trade in goods, services, and protecting and promoting investment. Expressing satisfaction at the implementation of development cooperation projects, they looked forward to the joint inauguration of three projects (Agartala-Akhaura Rail Link, Unit-II of the Maitri Power Plant and Khulna-Mongla Rail Link) at a convenient date later. The two leaders had a bilateral meeting in New Delhi on Friday (September 08, 2023). PM Hasina is visiting India as its guest country to participate in the G-20 Leaders Summit on 9-10 September 2023. Read more: Hasina, Modi agree to resolve outstanding bilateral issues through talks With regard to the regional situation, Prime Minister Modi expressed appreciation of the burden shouldered by Bangladesh in hosting over a million persons displaced from Rakhine State in Myanmar, and conveyed India's constructive and positive approach to support solutions towards safe and sustainable repatriation of the refugees. The Indian side welcomed the Indo-Pacific Outlook announced by Bangladesh recently, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (Indian Foreign Ministry). The leaders agreed to continue working together to intensify their wide-ranging engagement. The two leaders discussed the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation including political and security cooperation, border management, trade and connectivity, water resources, power and energy, development cooperation, cultural and people to people ties. Current developments in the region and cooperation in the multilateral fora were also discussed. Read more: Dhaka, New Delhi sign 3 MoUs after Hasina-Modi talks They welcomed the operationalization of the Agreement on the use of the Chattogram and Mongla Ports and commissioning of the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline. They also expressed appreciation for operationalization of settlement of bilateral trade in INR (rupee) and encouraged the business community on both sides to utilize the mechanism. Hasina thanked Modi for the hospitality of the government and people of India, as the two leaders looked forward to continuing interactions at all levels. Read more: Hasina, Modi didn't talk about Bangladesh election: Momen
NEW DELHI, Sept 4 (AP/UNB) — New Delhi's crowded streets have been resurfaced. Streetlights are illuminating once dark sidewalks. City buildings and walls are painted with bright murals and graffiti. Planted flowers are everywhere. Many of the city’s poor say they were simply erased, much like the stray dogs and monkeys that have been removed from some neighborhoods, as India's capital got its makeover ahead of this week's summit of the Group of 20 nations. Read: Biden to attend next month's G-20 summit in New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government hopes the elaborate effort to make New Delhi sparkle — a “beautification project” with a price tag of $120 million — will help showcase the world’s most populous nation’s cultural prowess and strengthen its position on the global stage. But for many street vendors and those crammed into New Delhi's shantytowns, the makeover has meant displacement and loss of livelihood, raising questions about the government's policies on dealing with poverty. In a city of more than 20 million people, the 2011 census had the homeless at 47,000 but activists say that was a vast underestimate and that the real number is at least 150,000. Since January, hundreds of houses and roadside stalls have been demolished, displacing thousands of people. Dozens of shantytowns were raised to the ground, with many residents getting eviction notices only a short while before the demolitions got underway. Read: Bangladesh’s New Delhi mission pays homage to Bangabandhu Authorities say the demolitions were carried out against “illegal encroachers,” but right activists and those evicted question the policy and allege that it has pushed thousands more into homelessness. Similar demolitions have also been carried out in other Indian cities like Mumbai and Kolkata that have hosted various G20 events leading up to this weekend's summit. Activists say it was more than just a case of out of sight, out of mind. Abdul Shakeel, with the activist group Basti Suraksha Manch, or Save Colony Forum, says that “in the name of beautification, the urban poor’s lives are destroyed.” Read:Bangladesh-India Friendship Pipeline to vastly improve transport of diesel: New Delhi “The money used for G20 is taxpayers' money. Everyone pays the tax. Same money is being used to evict and displace them,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense.” The two-day global summit will take place at the newly constructed Bharat Mandapam building, a sprawling exhibition center in the heart of New Delhi near the landmark India Gate monument — and scores of world leaders are expected to attend. The G20 includes the world’s 19 wealthiest countries plus the European Union. India currently holds its presidency, which rotates annually among the members. In July, a report by the Concerned Citizens Collective, a rights activist group, found that the preparations for the G20 summit resulted in the displacement of nearly 300,000 people, particularly from the neighborhoods that foreign leaders and diplomats will visit during various meetings. At least 25 shantytowns and multiple night shelters for the homeless were razed to the ground and turned into parks, the report said, adding that the government failed to provide alternative shelters or places for the newly homeless. Last month, Indian police intervened to stop a meeting of prominent activists, academics and politicians critical of Modi and his government’s role in hosting the G20 summit and questioning whose interests the summit would benefit. “I can see the homeless on the streets ... and now the homeless are not allowed to live on the streets either,” said Rekha Devi, a New Delhi resident who attended the Aug. 20 gathering. Devi, whose home was demolished in one of the drives, said authorities refused to consider documents she showed as proof that her family had lived in the same house for nearly 100 years. “Everyone is behaving as if they are blind," Devi said. "In the name of the G20 event, the farmers, workers and the poor are suffering.” Read: 53rd DG level border talks begin in New Delhi Home to 1.4 billion people, India’s struggle to end poverty remains daunting, even though a recent government report said that nearly 135 million — almost 10% of the country’s population — moved out of so-called multidimensional poverty between 2016 and 2021. The concept takes into consideration not just monetary poverty but also how lack of education, infrastructure and services affect a person’s quality of life. Indian authorities have been criticized in the past for clearing away homeless encampments and shantytowns ahead of major events. In 2020, the government hastily erected a half-kilometer (1,640-foot) brick wall in the state of Gujarat ahead of a visit by then-President Donald Trump, with critics saying it was built to block the view of a slum area inhabited by more than 2,000 people. Similar demolitions were also carried out during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. Some street vendors say they are helpless, stuck between sacrificing their livelihoods for India’s pride and wanting to earn a living. Shankar Lal, who sells chickpea curry with fried flatbread, said authorities told him three months ago to move away. These days, the only time he gets to open his stall along a busy New Delhi road near the G20 summit venue is on Sundays, when police pay less attention to the street vendors. It's not enough to eke out a living. “These are government rules, and we’ll do what we are told," Lal said. "The government doesn’t know whether we are dying of hunger or not.”
A meeting of finance chiefs of the Group of 20 leading economies ended on Saturday without a consensus, with Russia and China objecting to the description of the war in Ukraine in a final document. The meeting hosted by India issued the G-20 Chair’s summary and an outcome document stating that there was no agreement on the wording of the war in Ukraine. The first day of the meeting took place on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Group of Seven major industrial nations announced new sanctions against Russia on Friday, just as the talks of the G-20 group wrapped up in confusion in the Indian technology hub of Bengaluru. Also Read: German leader Scholz arrives in India to boost economic ties U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen condemned the “illegal and unjustified war against Ukraine” at a session attended by Russian officials and reiterated calls for G-20 nations to do more to support Ukraine and hinder Moscow’s war effort. At the last major G-20 meeting, in Bali, Indonesia, in November, leaders had strongly condemned the war, warning that the conflict was intensifying fragilities in the world’s economy. The group includes Russia and also countries like China and India that have significant trade with Moscow. India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters that the communique prepared for the Bengaluru meeting carried two paragraphs from the Bali declaration, but Russia and China demanded they be deleted and said they could not be part of the final document this time. Their contention was they had approved the Bali declaration under the then prevailing circumstances, she said. "Now they didn't want it," Sitharaman said. She didn't give any other details. The Bali declaration said that “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed that it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy – constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks.” The declaration also said: "There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions. G-20 is not the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy." The second paragraph of the declaration, which is now unacceptable to Russia and China, said, "It is essential to uphold international law and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability. ... The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war." Sitharaman said the meeting could not issue a communique because of the objections raised by Russia and China and decided to opt for a summary and an outcome document.
India officially takes up its role as chair of the Group of 20 leading economies for the coming year Thursday and it's putting climate at the top of the group's priorities. Programs to encourage sustainable living and money for countries to transition to clean energy and deal with the effects of a warming world are some of the key areas that India will focus on during its presidency, experts say. Some say India will also use its new position to boost its climate credentials and act as a bridge between the interests of industrialized nations and developing ones. The country has made considerable moves toward its climate goals in recent years but is currently one of the world's top emitters of planet-warming gases. The G-20, made up of the world's largest economies, has a rolling presidency with a different member state in charge of the group's agenda and priorities each year. Experts believe India will use the “big stage” of the G-20 presidency to drive forward its climate and development plans. The country “will focus heavily on responding to the current and future challenges posed by climate change,” said Samir Sarin, president of the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi-based think tank. The ORF will be anchoring the T-20 — a group of think tanks from the 20 member countries whose participants meet alongside the G-20. Read more: Xi criticises Trudeau in person over alleged leaks of closed-door meeting at G-20 summit Sarin said that India will work to ensure that money is flowing from rich industrialized nations to emerging economies to help them combat global warming, such as a promise of $100 billion a year for clean energy and adapting to climate change for poorer nations that has not yet been fulfilled and a recent pledge to vulnerable countries that there will be a fund for the loss and damage caused by extreme weather. He added that India will also use the presidency to push its flagship “Mission Life” program that encourages more sustainable lifestyles in the country, which is set to soon become most populous in the world. When outgoing chair Indonesia formally handed the presidency to India in Bali last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the opportunity to promote the program, saying it could make “a big contribution” by turning sustainable living into “a mass movement." The impact of lifestyle "has not received as much attention in the global discourse as it should," said RR Rashmi, a distinguished fellow at The Energy Research Institute in New Delhi. He added that the issue "may get some prominence” at the G-20 which would be a success for the Indian government, but critics say the focus on lifestyle changes must be backed by policy to have credibility. India has been beefing up its climate credentials, with its recent domestic targets to transition to renewable energy more ambitious than the goals it submitted to the U.N. as part of the Paris Agreement, which requires countries to show how they plan to limit warming to temperature targets set in 2015. Analysts say nations' climate ambitions and actions — including India's — are not in line with temperature targets. Many of India’s big industrialists are investing heavily in renewable energy domestically as well as globally, but the Indian government is also preparing to invest in coal-based power plants at the cost of $33 billion over the next four years. At the U.N. climate conference last month, India — currently the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases — proposed a phaseout of all fossil fuels and repeatedly emphasized the need to revamp global climate finance. The country says it cannot reach its climate goals and reduce carbon dioxide emissions without significantly more finance from richer nations, a claim which those countries dispute. Read more: Despite differences, the G-20 summit ends with a condemnation of Russia Navroz Dubash, author of several U.N. climate reports and professor at the Centre for Policy Research, said that a key question for many countries is how “emerging economies address development needs and do it in a low carbon pathway” with several in the global south, like India, pointing to a need for outside investment. As the chair of the G-20, India is a good position “to say what it will take for us to develop in ways that don’t lock up the remaining carbon budget,” Dubash added, referring to the amount of carbon dioxide the world can emit while still containing global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) compared with preindustrial levels. “Developing countries are making a convincing case that green industrial policies are actually quite dependent on having public money to throw at the problems," said Dubash. Some experts say more than $2 trillion is needed each year by 2030 to help developing countries cut emissions and deal with the effects of a warming climate, with $1 trillion from domestic sources and the rest coming from external sources such as developed countries or multilateral development banks. "This public money can also be a way of getting in private money, which is what the U.S. has done in its Inflation Reduction Act,” Dubash added. The U.S.'s flagship climate package that passed earlier this year includes incentives for building out clean energy infrastructure. The G-20 will also be looking closely at alternative means to getting climate finance, experts say. The group could potentially take a leaf out of the Bridgetown initiative proposed by the prime minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, which involves unlocking large sums of money from multilateral development banks and international financial institutions to help countries adapt to climate change and transition to cleaner energy. ORF's Sarin said that as G-20 chair India can help move forward the conversation on the initiative. Developing countries are often charged higher rates of interest when borrowing from global financial institutions. Rejigging global finance to make renewable energy more affordable in the developing world is key to curbing climate change, Sarin said. The idea has recently gained traction amongst developed nations, with France's Macron recently vocalizing his support. “A large share of emissions will come from the developing world in the future," Sarin said. “If we make it easier for them to shift to clean energy, then these emissions can be avoided.”
US President Joe Biden said it was “unlikely” that missile was fired from Russia, and pledged support for Poland’s investigation. “There is preliminary information that contests that,” Biden told reporters when asked if the missile had been fired from Russia. “It is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia, but we’ll see.” Biden was joined at the G-20 by leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend. Read more: Biden calls ‘emergency’ meeting after missile hits Poland The careful wording of the final statement reflected tensions at the gathering and the challenge for the US and its allies to isolate Putin’s government. Several G-20 members, including host Indonesia, are wary of becoming entangled in disputes between bigger powers. Members of the Group of 20 leading economies ended their meeting Wednesday by declaring that most of them strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and warning that the conflict is intensifying fragilities in the world’s economy. The declaration was a strong rebuke of the war that has killed thousands, heightened global security tensions and disrupted the world economy. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who led the Russian delegation to Indonesia in place of Putin, denounced the Biden administration push to condemn Moscow in his remarks Tuesday (November 15, 2022). The summit’s closing declaration was noteworthy in highlighting the war given the divisions among the group, which includes not only Russia itself but also countries such as China and India that have significant trade ties with Moscow and have stopped short of outright criticism of the war. Still, it acknowledged “there were other views and different assessments” and stated that the G-20 is “not the forum to resolve security issues.” Read more: Russian missiles cross into Poland during strike on Ukraine, killing 2 The conflict loomed large over the two-day summit held on the tropical island of Bali in Indonesia. News early in the day of an explosion that rocked eastern Poland prompted U.S. President Joe Biden to hastily arrange an emergency meeting with G-7 and NATO members gathered at the summit. Poland said the blast near the Ukrainian border was caused by a Russian-made missile and that it was investigating what happened. The NATO member stopped short of blaming Russia for the incident, which killed two people. Russia denied involvement.
A showdown between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin isn’t happening, but fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing tensions between China and the West will be at the fore when leaders of the world’s biggest economies gather in tropical Bali this week. The Group of 20 members begin talks on the Indonesian resort island Tuesday under the hopeful theme of “recover together, recover stronger.” While Putin is staying away, Biden will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and get to know new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Italy’s Giorgia Meloni. The summit’s official priorities of health, sustainable energy and digital transformation are likely to be overshadowed by fears of a sputtering global economy and geopolitical tensions centered on the war in Ukraine. The nearly 9-month-old conflict has disrupted trade in oil, natural gas and grain, and shifted much of the summit's focus to food and energy security. The U.S. and allies in Europe and Asia, meanwhile, increasingly are squaring off against a more assertive China, leaving emerging G-20 economies like India, Brazil and host Indonesia to walk a tightrope between bigger powers. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has tried to bridge rifts within the G-20 over the war in Ukraine. Widodo, also known as Jokowi, became the first Asian leader since the invasion to visit both Russia and Ukraine in the summer. He invited President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine, not a G-20 member, to join the summit. Zelenskyy is expected to participate online. Read more: US supports India for G20 presidency “One of the priorities for Jokowi is to ease the tension of war and geopolitical risk,” said Bhima Yudhistira, director of the Center of Economic and Law Studies in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. Last year’s G-20 summit in Rome was the first in-person gathering of members since the pandemic, though the leaders of Russia and China didn’t attend. This year’s event is bracketed by the United Nations climate conference in Egypt and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Cambodia, which Biden and some other G-20 leaders are attending, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Thailand right afterward. The American president vowed to work with Southeast Asian nations on Saturday, saying “we’re going to build a better future that we all want to see” in a region where China is working to grow its influence. On Sunday, Biden huddled with the leaders of Japan and South Korea to discuss China and the threat from North Korea. One question hanging over the Bali summit is whether Russia will agree to extend the U.N. Black Sea Grain Initiative, which is up for renewal Nov. 19. The July deal allowed major global grain producer Ukraine to resume exports from ports that had been largely blocked for months because of the war. Russia briefly pulled out of the deal late last month only to rejoin it days later. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Saturday called for more pressure on Russia to extend the deal, saying Moscow must "stop playing hunger games with the world.” As leaders contend with conflicts and geopolitical tensions, they face the risk that efforts to tame inflation will extinguish post-pandemic recoveries or cause debilitating financial crises. The war’s repercussions are being felt from the remotest villages of Asia and Africa to the most modern industries. It has amplified disruptions to energy supplies, shipping and food security, pushing prices sharply higher and complicating efforts to stabilize the world economy after the upheavals of the pandemic. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging the G-20 to provide financial help for the developing world. "My priority in Bali will be to speak up for countries in the Global South that have been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate emergency, and now face crises in food, energy and finance — exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and crushing debt,” Guterres said. The International Monetary Fund is forecasting 2.7% global growth in 2023, while private sector economists’ estimates are as low as 1.5%, down from about 3% this year, the slowest growth since the oil crisis of the early 1980s. China has remained somewhat insulated from soaring inflation, mainly because it is struggling to reverse an economic slump that is weighing on global growth. Read more: Putin won’t be at G20 summit, avoiding possible confrontation with US The Chinese economy, the world’s second largest, grew at a 3.9% pace in the latest quarter. But economists say activity is slowing under the pressure of pandemic controls, a crackdown on technology companies and a downturn in the real estate sector. Forecasters have cut estimates of China’s annual economic growth to as low as 3%. That would be less than half of last year’s 8.1% and the second lowest in decades. Chinese President Xi will be coming to the summit emboldened by his appointment to an unusual third term as party chairman, making him China’s strongest leader in decades. It's only his second foreign trip since early 2020, following a visit to Central Asia where he met Putin in September. Biden and Xi will hold their first in-person meeting since Biden became president in January 2021 on the event’s sidelines Monday. The U.S. is at odds with China over a host of issues, including human rights, technology and the future of the self-ruled island of Taiwan. The U.S. sees China as its biggest global competitor, and that rivalry is only likely to grow as Beijing seeks to expand its influence in the years to come. The European Union is also reassessing its relationship with China as it seeks to reduce its trade dependency on the country. Biden said he plans to talk with Xi about topics including Taiwan, trade policies and Beijing’s relationship with Russia. “What I want to do ... is lay out what each of our red lines are,” Biden said last week. Many developing economies are caught between fighting inflation and trying to nurse along recoveries from the pandemic. Host Indonesia’s economy grew at a 5.7% pace in the last quarter, one of the fastest among G-20 nations. But growth among resource exporters like Indonesia is forecast to cool as falling prices for oil, coal and other commodities end windfalls from the past year’s price boom. At a time when many countries are struggling to afford imports of oil, gas and food while also meeting debt repayments, pressure is building on those most vulnerable to climate change to double down on shifting to more sustainable energy supplies. In Bali, the talks are also expected to focus on finding ways to hasten the transition away from coal and other fossil fuels. The G-20 was founded in 1999 originally as a forum to address economic challenges. It includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. Spain holds a permanent guest seat. Some observers of the bloc, like Josh Lipsky, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center, question whether the G-20 can even function as geopolitical rifts grow. “I’m skeptical that it can survive long-term in its current format,” he said in a briefing last week. That makes things especially tough on host Indonesia. “This is not the G-20 they signed up for,” Lipsky said. “The last thing they wanted was to be in the middle of this geopolitical fight, this war in Europe, and be the crossroads of it. But that’s where they are.”
Foreign ministers from the world’s largest nations are looking to address the war in Ukraine and its impact on global energy and food security when they meet in Indonesia this week. Yet instead of providing unity, the talks may well exacerbate existing divides over the Ukraine conflict. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are set to attend the Group of 20 meeting in the Indonesian resort of Bali, which will set the stage for a summit of G-20 leaders at the same venue in November. It will mark the first time Blinken and Lavrov have been in the same room, let alone the same city, since January. There’s no indication the two will meet separately, but even without a one-on-one with Lavrov, Blinken could find himself in some difficult discussions. The State Department announced Tuesday that Blinken will hold separate talks with Wang at a time when already extremely tense U.S.-China relations have been worsened by Beijing’s friendly ties with Moscow. And, unlike in recent leader-level meetings with NATO partners and other like-minded partners, Blinken will find himself among diplomats from countries wary of the U.S. approach to Ukraine and concerned about its impact on them. U.S. officials say that aside from Wang, Blinken will have bilateral talks in Bali with counterparts from countries that have not seen eye to eye with the West on the Russian invasion, notably India, which has increased purchases of Russian oil even as the U.S. and Europe have tried to choke off that revenue stream for Moscow. In announcing that Blinken would meet with Wang in Bali, the State Department had little to say about the possibility of him seeing Lavrov, whom the U.S. has shunned since the Ukraine invasion in February. The department said there would not be a formal meeting between Blinken and Lavrov, whom U.S. officials accuse of a lack of seriousness before, during and after the invasion of Ukraine. “We would like to see the Russians be serious about diplomacy,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said. “We have not seen that yet. We would like to have the Russians give us a reason to meet on a bilateral basis with them, with Foreign Minister Lavrov, but the only thing we have seen emanate from Moscow is more brutality and aggression against the people and country of Ukraine.” The Biden administration maintains there can be no “business as usual” with Moscow as long as the war continues. But neither Price nor other U.S. officials could rule out the possibility of a chance Blinken-Lavrov encounter in Bali, which would be their first since they last met in Geneva in January. Price declined to discuss what he called the “choreography” of the G-20. Like almost all recent international diplomatic gatherings, the Bali meeting will be overshadowed by Ukraine. But unlike the Western-dominated G-7 and NATO summits held in Europe last week, the G-20 will have a different flavor. China and many other participants, including India, South Africa and Brazil, have resisted signing onto U.S. and European full-throated opposition to Russia’s invasion. Some have outright refused Western entreaties to join condemnations of the conflict, which the U.S. and its allies see as an attack on the international rules-based order that has prevailed since the end of World War II. Thus, there may be difficulty in achieving a G-20 consensus on efforts to mitigate the food and energy impacts of the Ukraine conflict, particularly with China and Russia in the room. That will not stop the U.S. from trying, according to American officials. They want to see the G-20 put its weight behind a U.N.-backed initiative to free up some 20 million tons of Ukrainian grain for export mainly to the Middle East, Africa and Asia. ”We would like the G-20 to hold Russia accountable and insist that it support this initiative,” said Ramin Toloui, the assistant secretary of state for Economic and Business Affairs. While a variety of nations, including G-20 host Indonesia, are pushing for Russia to ease its blockade in the Black Sea to allow grain to enter the global market, they remain wary of antagonizing Moscow and its friends in Beijing. And that divergence has set the stage for a potentially contentious preparatory meeting ahead of November’s G-20 summit amid questions about whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend. The U.S. has made clear it does not believe Putin should attend but has urged Indonesia to invite Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy should the Russian leader participate. In the meantime, the U.S. and China are separately at severe odds over numerous issues ranging from trade and human rights to Taiwan and disputes in the South China Sea. Blinken’s meeting with Wang was announced after China’s trade envoy with Washington expressed concern about U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports in a call with with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Neither side gave any indication that progress has been made on the matter and U.S. officials downplayed the chances for any breakthroughs in the short term. In his meeting with Wang, U.S. officials said Blinken would instead be pressing to keep lines of communications open and creating “guardrails” to guide the world’s two largest economies as they navigate increasingly complex and potentially explosive matters. “It’s absolutely critical that we have open lines of communication with our Chinese counterparts, particularly at the senior level ... to ensure that we prevent any miscalculation that could lead inadvertently to conflict and confrontation,” said Daniel Kritenbrink, the top U.S. diplomat for Asia. From Bali, Blinken will travel to Bangkok, Thailand, to make up for a trip to the Thai capital that he was forced to cancel late last year due to COVID-19. In addition to Thai officials, Blinken will meet with refugees who have fled ongoing political violence and repression in Myanmar since a coup toppled a civilian government in February 2021.