On Tuesday (Nov. 15), the Group of 20 will begin their discussions on the tourist island in Indonesia with the uplifting slogan "recover together, recover stronger." While Russian leader Vladimir Putin is not present, Biden will meet with Xi Jinping of China, get to know Rishi Sunak, Giorgia Meloni of Italy, and the next British Prime Minister.
The leaders of the world's largest economies will meet on the tropical island of Bali this week, but there won't be a face-off between Presidents Joe Biden and Putin. Instead, the fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and escalating tensions between China and the West will be at the forefront.
The nearly nine-month-old conflict has hampered the grain, oil, and natural gas trade and has primarily moved the summit's emphasis to the security of food and energy sources. Fears of a faltering global economy and geopolitical tensions centered on the conflict in Ukraine are likely to overshadow the summit's avowed goals of health, renewable energy, and digital transformation.
While this is going on, the U.S. and its allies in Europe and Asia are increasingly confronting an aggressive China, forcing developing G-20 economies like India, Brazil, and the host nation Indonesia to balance between two powerful rivals.
Joko Widodo, the president of Indonesia, has made an effort to mend fences within the G-20 over the conflict in Ukraine. The summer saw Widodo, better known as Jokowi, travel to both Russia and Ukraine for the first time as an Asian leader since the invasion. He extended a summit invitation to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is not a G-20 member. Zelenskyy is anticipated to take part, probably online.
The leaders of Russia and China didn't attend the G20 summit that took place in Rome last year, which was the group's first in-person meeting since the pandemic. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Thailand follows the United Nations climate conference in Egypt and is sandwiched between the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which President Biden and a few other G20 leaders are attending, in Cambodia and the event this year.
Whether Russia would consent to extend the UN Black Sea Grain Initiative, which is up for renewal on November 19, is one specific concern that looms over the Bali meeting. In a region where China is trying to increase its influence, the American president promised to cooperate with Southeast Asian countries on Saturday, saying "we're going to build a brighter future that we all want to see."