Blinken sets G-20 meeting with Chinese FM; silent on Russia

WASHINGTON , Jun 5 (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart this week in Indonesia at a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of 20 bloc of the world’s leading industrialized nations, the State Department said Tuesday.

Blinken will see China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the G-20 gathering in Bali, the department said in a statement that made no mention of any possible meeting between Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who will also be attending the G-20 event.

Blinken and Lavrov last met in Geneva, Switzerland in January in what turned out to be a fruitless bid to forestall Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a month later.

Since then, Blinken and Lavrov have not been in the same room, or even the same city, at the same time. It was not immediately clear if either of the two would have time or desire for a discussion in Bali.

The U.S. and China are at severe odds over numerous issues ranging from trade and human rights to Taiwan and disputes in the South China Sea. They are also divided over Russia’s war in Ukraine, with China supporting the Russian explanation for the conflict.

Blinken “will reinforce our commitment to working with international partners to confront global challenges, including food and energy insecurity and the threat Russia’s continued war against Ukraine presents to the international order,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

From Bali, Blinken will travel to Bangkok, Thailand, to make up for a trip to the Thai capital that he was forced to cancel late last year due to COVID-19 reasons.