day following China’s President Xi Jinping’s decision to skip the G20 Summit in Delhi, Jake Sullivan, National Security Adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden, expressed that China retains the option to “act as a disruptor” at the G20 Summit. He emphasized that India, the United States, and all other G20 members would encourage China to put aside geopolitical tensions and play a constructive role in addressing urgent international issues.
Sullivan made these remarks during a press briefing held at the White House, where he offered a preview of President Biden’s upcoming visit to India. Biden is scheduled to arrive in Delhi on September 8, where he will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi before participating in the G20 Summit over the weekend. Subsequently, he will proceed to Vietnam.
Touching upon another contentious issue at the G20, Sullivan acknowledged that achieving a unanimous consensus on the situation in Ukraine posed a significant challenge. He did not anticipate Russia, represented by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Summit, to change its stance. However, Sullivan pointed out that the majority of both United Nations and G20 members opposed Russia’s “illegal invasion” of Ukraine.
Sullivan emphasized that President Biden would unequivocally denounce Russia’s war, which has had severe consequences, and seek a “just and lasting peace” in line with the principles of the UN Charter, international law, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. Moscow and Beijing had reservations about including language from the previous summit in Bali regarding Ukraine, potentially jeopardizing the possibility of a joint communique. When asked about India’s position on the conflict, Sullivan affirmed that India had endorsed the statement.
In his opening statements at the briefing, Sullivan underscored the United States’ deep commitment to the G20 as a forum for achieving meaningful outcomes during a time of significant international economic challenges. He linked the American agenda at the Summit to President Biden’s domestic economic policies, which prioritize increased investments at home.
Sullivan stated that the U.S. would push for an ambitious reform agenda for multilateral development banks, particularly the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, aiming to make them “larger and more effective.” He noted that the U.S. administration had requested additional funding from Congress for the Bank.
Sullivan highlighted that these multilateral development banks remained the most effective instruments for providing “high-standard, non-coercive, transparent, sustainable, and resilient” lending and funding to low and middle-income countries.
In response to a query regarding the reform agenda’s intent towards China, Sullivan pointed out that China was also a shareholder of the Bank and clarified that President Xi’s absence would not affect the U.S. approach to the issue.
Additionally, Sullivan expressed anticipation for the African Union (AU) becoming the newest permanent member of the G20, indicating that the proposal was likely to be accepted. India has been a staunch advocate for including the AU in the G20, demonstrating its commitment to the global South and efforts to enhance international governance inclusivity and representation. Sullivan also highlighted several other topics on the G20 agenda, including climate, health, digital transformation, and the responsible development of artificial intelligence.
Responding to a question about the human rights situation in India and whether it would be discussed during President Biden’s conversations, Sullivan referred to the President’s prior statements on the issue, including remarks made during Prime Minister Modi’s last state visit to the United States.