Use leaders’ agreement as step to rebuild international cooperation frameworks

As the conflict deepens between Western countries and China and Russia, it is significant that countries, including emerging nations, have moved closer together and worked out an outcome statement. It is hoped that the agreement reached among participating world leaders will precipitate a rebuilding of international cooperation frameworks.

A summit of the Group of 20 major economies was held in Indonesia. The leaders’ declaration adopted at the summit clearly stated, “Most members strongly condemned the war,” regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but also noted, “There were other views and different assessments of the situation.”

G20 members include emerging nations that distrust Western-led frameworks. As the former Soviet Union supported the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, the nation is considered to be pro-Russia.

Countries, including those with differing positions, cooperated in the adoption of the leaders’ declaration, and this appears to signal that they cannot overlook Russia’s actions, which have put the global economy at risk. The international community must continue putting pressure on Moscow, using various frameworks.

Russia’s outrageous acts have brought about soaring energy and other prices around the world. Its temporary blockade of the Black Sea has stalled exports of Ukrainian grain and deepened a food crisis in developing countries.

After the G20 talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov blamed Western sanctions against Russia for the food crisis, saying a stable supply of grain and fertilizer would be possible if not for the obstacles still remaining.

What caused the crisis was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the economic sanctions were merely the result of the invasion. Moscow’s claims are completely out of line.

If food shortages cause political instability in emerging countries, the international situation will become even more chaotic. Japan and Western countries need to take the lead in helping countries that are facing a crisis.

Concerns persist that Russia may use nuclear weapons to break the deadlock in the Ukraine war. It is only natural that the G20 leaders stressed that, “The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.”

At the summit, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed Tokyo’s intention to extend emergency food and other assistance to Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Unlike Western countries, Japan has good relations with many emerging countries. This is partly attributable to its long history of supporting countries mainly in Asia and Africa through official development assistance (ODA) programs.

It is important for Japan to use its diplomatic strengths to act as a bridge between emerging nations and Western countries. It is hoped that countries will deepen dialogue strategically to restore international order.

Japan will serve as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council next year. It should use its position to contribute to the peace and security of the international community.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 18, 2022)