Shadow of hot and cold wars.

FEW G20 summits have taken place in the shadow of a hot and cold war. The conflict in Ukraine and US-China tensions both cast a shadow over the annual meeting of the Group of 20 countries in Bali. President Vladimir Putin didn't attend the summit, where Russia's aggression against Ukraine loomed large on the agenda.

Geopolitical tensions unleashed by the conflict as well as its far-reaching fallout on the global economy, including disruption of supply chains and soaring energy and food prices, were top concerns at the summit. Geopolitics dominated the gathering of the world's largest economies.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the summit by video, making an emphatic call for Russia to withdraw its troops and end the war, but rejecting peace proposals that would erode his country's 'sovereignty, territory and independence'.

The joint statement issued at the close of the summit declared that 'today's era must not be of war' and that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons was 'inadmissible' - a reference to Putin's threat to resort to the nuclear option if the Ukraine crisis escalated. The statement sent an important message to Moscow.

But it was the meeting between President Jo Biden and President Xi Jinping on the eve of the summit that was more consequential for international stability, as it indicated a deceleration of tensions between the two global powers. The opening statements by both leaders set a positive tone in their first face-to-face meeting since Biden assumed the presidency. Both pledged to improve relations, which had sunk to a historic low in recent years, raising concerns across the world about the advent of a new Cold War.

Xi told Biden that the world is at an inflection point, which obliged their countries to chart the right course for the relationship and 'elevate' it. The present state of China-US relations, he asserted, was not in the fundamental interests of the two countries and needed to be on a 'healthy and stable track'. Biden said it was 'critical' for the two to work together on urgent and global issues.

He later told a press conference that he was not looking for a conflict and that US-China competition had to be managed 'responsibly' to avoid a new Cold War.

Read more: Kamala Harris meets Xi briefly, calls for US-China communication

Both leaders came to this meeting strengthened in their respective positions - Xi after securing an unprecedented third term in power, and Biden after an...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT