Blinken to Meet with Chinese Foreign Minister at G-20

Joe Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to meet with China’s top diplomat at the Group of 20 gathering of leading industrialized nations in Indonesia this week.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is expected to dominate the talks and the impact on worldwide energy and food supply chains will likely further divide U.S. and Chinese positions on the conflict.

While Blinken plans to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the G-20 will also include Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Although Lavrov is also set to meet with Wang, he has refused to engage in talks with Blinken at the G-20.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said he certainly does not expect a meeting with Lavrov and Blinken, but he is “not in a position to walk through the choreography.”

The Biden White House has said that there will be no “business as usual” with Russia diplomatically so long as the invasion of Ukraine continues. Neither Price nor the White House ruled out the possibility of a “chance encounter” with Lavrov. Blinken has not met personally with him since January in Geneva.

Price added that other than not planning on any meetings with Lavrov, Blinken expects to be “a full and active participant in the G-20, which we see as a valuable forum.”

The G-20 has a much broader focus than the G-7 and NATO gatherings held last week in Europe. While those meetings were dominated by Western nations, the G-20 involves India, South Africa, China, and several other nations that are not heavily invested in Western opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This week’s meeting is in preparation for a formal G-20 summit in November, and the stage is being set for possible controversy over Russia’s expected involvement. The U.S. has said it does not believe Russian President Vladimir Putin should attend but is strongly in favor of an invitation going to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky if Putin is invited.

For the time being, the meeting with Wang will likely involve a number of contentious issues between the U.S. and China, including Taiwanese independence, human rights concerns, and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

The meeting with Wang is expected to primarily address “food and energy insecurity and the threat Russia’s continued war against Ukraine presents to the international order,” according to Price.