G20, APEC and ASEAN: World leaders have wrapped up three summits in Asia – with Russia firmly on the sidelines

Bangkok, Thailand

The big three tops world leaders What has happened across Asia in the past week has made one thing clear: Vladimir Putin Marginalized now on the world stage.

Putin who Attack on Ukraine For the past nine months, the European country has devastated and disrupted the global economy, refusing to attend any diplomatic gatherings – instead finding himself subject to much criticism as international opposition to his war seemed to intensify.

Leaders meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bangkok Closed on Saturdays by advertisement It refers to the positions of countries expressed in other forums, including a UN resolution denouncing “in the strongest terms” Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, while noting differing views.

He is verbatim echoing a declaration made at the G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Bali earlier this week.

Most of the members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed that it was caused by it enormous human suffering and exacerbating the current fragility in the global economy,” the document said, adding that there were different “assessments” of the situation within the group.

Discussions within the summits aside, the week also showed that Putin – who is believed to have launched his invasion in an attempt to restore Russia’s supposed former glory – is becoming increasingly isolated, with the Russian leader in Moscow and unwilling even to confront his peers in leadership. Global meetings.

Fear of potential political maneuvers against him if he left the capital, obsession with personal security and desire to avoid scenes of confrontation at summits—especially as Russia faces heavy losses on the battlefield—were all possible calculations made in Putin’s assessment. According to Aleksandr Gaboev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

At the same time, he may not want to direct unwanted attention to a handful of countries that have remained friends of Russia, say India and China, whose leaders Putin saw at a summit in Uzbekistan in September.

“He doesn’t want to be this toxic guy,” said Gabuev.

But even among countries that have not taken a hard line against Russia, there are signs of losing patience, if not with Russia itself, then with the spillover effects of its aggression. Tense energy, food security issues and spiraling global inflation are now stressing economies around the world.

Indonesia, which hosts the G20, has not explicitly condemned Russia for the invasion, but its President Joko Widodo told world leaders on Tuesday that “we must end the war.”

India, which has been a major buyer of Russian energy even as the West has shunned Russian fuel in recent months, has also reiterated its call to “Find a way to return to the ceasefire trackAt the G20. The closing statement of the summit includes a sentence that reads: “Today’s era shall not be war,” which echoes what Modi told Putin in September, when they met on the sidelines of a regional security summit in Uzbekistan.

It is not clear whether China, who Strategic partnership with Russia Backed by a close relationship between leader Xi Jinping and Putin, has come No shift in position. Beijing long He refused to condemn the invasion, or even refer to it as such. Instead, it has decried Western sanctions and doubled down on the Kremlin’s talking points blaming the United States and NATO for the conflict, though such rhetoric has appeared to decline somewhat in state-controlled domestic media in recent months.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the G20 leaders via video link from his office in Kyiv.

But in meetings on the sidelines of meetings with Western leaders last week, Xi reiterated China’s call for a ceasefire through dialogueand, according to readings from his interlocutors, agreed to oppose the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine—but these remarks were not included in China’s account of the talks.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi later told Chinese state media that Xi reiterated China’s position in a meeting with US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G-20 that “nuclear weapons cannot be used and a nuclear war cannot be waged.”

But observers of China’s foreign policy say its desire to maintain strong relations with Russia is likely to remain steadfast.

“While these remarks are an indirect criticism of Vladimir Putin, I don’t think they are intended to distance China from Russia,” said Brian Hart, a fellow with the China Energy Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Shi says these things to the audience who wants to hear them. ”

However, Russia’s isolation appears more acute against the backdrop of Xi’s diplomatic tour of Bali and Bangkok this week.

Although the Biden administration has described Beijing — not Moscow — as the “most serious long-term challenge” to the world order, Xi has been treated as a valued global partner by Western leaders, many of whom have met with the Chinese leader for talks aimed at increasing Communication and collaboration.

Xi held talks with US Vice President Kamala Harris, who represents the US at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, at the event on Saturday, according to Chinese state media and a White House official. The official said Harris reiterated Biden’s message about the importance of keeping lines of communication open, which he expressed during his meeting with President Xi.

In an impassioned call for peace delivered to a meeting of business leaders taking place on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Bangkok on Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to draw Distinguish between Russia’s actions and tensions with china.

Referring to the competition between the United States and China and the increasing confrontation in the territorial waters of Asia, Macron said: “What makes this war different is that it is an aggression against international rules. All countries … enjoy stability because of international rules,” before calling on Russia to return to the table. Negotiations” and “respect for the international order”.

US Vice President Kamala Harris meets with US allies in APEC following North Korea's ballistic missile launch on Friday.

The urgency of this feeling was increased after a Russian-made missile It landed in Poland, killing two people on Tuesday, during the G20 summit. As a member of NATO, a threat to Polish security could trigger a response from the entire bloc.

The situation was defused after preliminary investigations indicated that the missile had come from the Ukrainian side in an accident during missile defense – but highlighted the potential for a miscalculation to trigger a world war.

A day after this situation, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken referred to what he called a “split screen”.

“What we see is a very divided screen: As the world works to help the most vulnerable people, Russia targets them; leaders around the world reaffirm our commitment to the United Nations Charter and international rules that benefit all our people. President Blinken told reporters Thursday night in Bangkok. Putin continues to try to shred those same principles.

As we enter the week of international meetings, the United States and its allies have been poised to get this message out to their international counterparts. And while there are strong messages, mustering consensus around this point of view hasn’t been easy — and disagreements remain.

The G-20 and APEC statements acknowledge divisions between how members at the United Nations voted to support its resolution “condemning” Russian aggression, and say that while most members “strongly condemned” the war, “there were other opinions and different assessments of the situation and the sanctions.”

Even submitting such an expression with caveats was an arduous process at both summits, according to officials. Indonesia’s Jokowi said the G20 leaders are still up until “midnight” to discuss the paragraph on Ukraine.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan Oo Cha and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met at APEC on November 18, 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The countries in the groupings have different geo-strategic and economic relations with Russia, which affects their positions. But another concern some Asian countries may have is whether the blaming measures on Russia are part of a US effort to weaken Moscow, according to former Thai foreign minister Kantathi Sophamongkoon.

“Countries say we don’t want to be just a pawn in this game to be used to weaken another power,” said Suphamongkhon, a member of the advisory board for the RAND Corporation’s Center for Asia and the Pacific Policy (CAPP). Instead, framing the blame on Russia for its “violation of international law and war crimes it may have committed” would damage aspects of the situation that “everyone here rejects,” he said.

Russia’s refusal along these lines could also send a message to China, which itself has breached an international ruling refuting its territorial claims in the South China Sea and vowed to “reunify” with the autonomous democracy of Taiwan, which it never controlled. by force if necessary.

While this week’s efforts have increased pressure on Putin, the Russian leader has experience of such dynamics: Before Putin was ousted for his annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014, the G7 was the G8 — nor remain. Let’s see if international expressions will have an effect.

But without Putin in the fold, leaders stressed this week, the suffering will continue — and there will be a hole in the international system.

This story has been updated with new information.