China refuses to condemn Russia’s Ukraine invasion as G20 fails to reach agreement

G20 nations were unable to issue a joint statement after their meeting on Saturday as China and Russia objected to the inclusion of a passage condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine.

China declined to accept parts of the statement that deplored Russia’s aggression against Ukraine “in the strongest terms” during the meeting in Bengaluru, India.

The G20 host, India, chaired the meeting. India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the media after the meeting that opposition from China and Russia prevented the nations from issuing a joint statement.

She revealed that the two nations also rejected the inclusion of a line, which stressed that the situation in Ukraine is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy.

The lack of a joint statement led to India, instead, issuing a “chair’s summary and outcome document” which summarised points from two days of talks and disagreements.

“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,” the summary said. It added: “There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions.”

This comes after China offered a 12-point peace proposal to end the fighting in Ukraine one year into Russia’s war.

In the proposal, China called for a ceasefire and peace talks, and an end to Western sanctions against Russia. It says “relevant countries should stop abusing unilateral sanctions” and “do their share in de-escalating the Ukraine crisis”.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said he wants to meet Chinese president Xi Jinping to discuss his peace proposal for ending the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking on the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Mr Zelensky said that he plans to meet China’s president to discuss Beijing’s peace proposals.

“I really want to believe that China will not supply weapons to Russia,” he said.

So far, there has been no response from the Chinese side to Mr Zelensky’s call for a meeting with Mr Xi.

The motto for this year’s G20 summit is “One Earth, One Family, One Future.”

So far, India’s officials have been reluctant to call the Russia-Ukraine conflict a “war” in a joint communique for the G20 meetings.

Earlier this week, the officials failed to reach an agreement to term the Russia-Ukraine conflict a “crisis” or a “challenge” instead of the word “war” while drafting a joint G20 communique on the first day of meetings in Bengaluru.

The move comes as India juggles between doing business with Russia and placating the West’s demands to be tougher on the US’s rival country.