September 26, 2022

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Blinken to pressure G20 on Russia to open sea lanes, China warning on Ukraine

Blinken to pressure G20 on Russia to open sea lanes, China warning on Ukraine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called on G20 nations this week to pressure Russia to support United Nations efforts to reopen sea lanes closed by the conflict in Ukraine and repeated warnings to China not to support Moscow’s war efforts. .

Blinken heads to Asia on Wednesday for the G20 foreign ministers meeting in Bali on Friday. His trip will include his first meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi since October, but he is not expected to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Read more

Analysts expect a contentious G20 ministerial meeting in which Washington and its allies blame Moscow for the global food shortage since it invaded Ukraine on February 24, a major grain exporter, while Russia, which is also a major grain exporter, blames sanctions-led. United State.

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Ramin Tolui, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Trade Affairs, told reporters that Blinken would strengthen energy security and a UN initiative to try to bring Ukrainian and Russian food and fertilizer back to world markets.

“The G20 countries should hold Russia accountable and insist on its support for the ongoing UN efforts to reopen sea lanes for grain delivery,” he said. “Whether it happens at the level of the G-20, or at the level of the G-20 countries, this is an important point that Secretary Blinken will make,” he said.

Ukraine, which accuses Russia of obstructing the movement of its ships, said this week it was in talks with Turkey and the United Nations to secure guarantees for grain exports. Read more

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Russia denies it is blocking any movement of grain and says Ukraine is responsible for the lack of movement, in part because of what it says are mining operations at its ports.

The top US diplomat for East Asia, Daniel Krettenbrink, said he expected a “candid” exchange on Ukraine in Blinken’s talks with China’s Wang, expected on Saturday.

“This will be another opportunity … to express our expectations about what we expect China to do and not do in the context of Ukraine,” he said.

Shortly before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Beijing and Moscow announced a “borderless” partnership. But US officials said they have not seen China evade US-led sanctions on Moscow or provide Russia with military equipment. Read more

However, China refused to condemn Russia’s actions and criticized the sweeping sanctions. US officials have warned of the consequences, including sanctions, if China begins providing material support to the Russian war effort.

Washington describes China as its main strategic rival and worries that it might one day try to seize by force the autonomous island of Taiwan, just as Russia attacked Ukraine.

Krettenbrink said it was “critical” to maintain open lines of communication with Chinese counterparts “to ensure that any miscalculation that could inadvertently lead to conflict and confrontation is prevented.”

The meeting with Wang will be the latest high-level contact between US and Chinese officials.

Despite the overall strategic rivalry between Washington and Beijing, the world’s two largest economies remain major trading partners. President Joe Biden had been considering eliminating tariffs on a range of Chinese goods to curb rising US inflation ahead of the November midterm elections, with an eye on congressional control. Read more

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US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Monday and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met last month with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in Luxembourg. read more Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are also expected to speak in the coming weeks. Read more

The White House said Thursday that it is still looking at options on lowering tariffs on Chinese imports, even as industry demands grow to keep tariffs in place. Read more

Lavrov and Blinkin have not met since before Moscow invaded Ukraine, and Washington and its allies support Kyiv with arms supplies.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said now was not the time for another meeting. “We would like to see the Russians serious about diplomacy. We haven’t seen that yet,” he said.

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Additional reporting by Humira Pamuk, Susan Heffy, Doina Chiako and David Bronstrom; Editing by Andrew Heavens, Chizu Nomiyama, Bill Bercrot, Margarita Choi and Leslie Adler

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.