Several events in the world of international politics will be happening in the coming week. Most notably, the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Hangzhou, China, which began on Sept. 4 and ending the following day on the 5th.
The G20 summit is a meeting among the top 20 largest economies on the planet to discuss major issues. The G7, its sister organization, is the seven largest economies meeting, excluding the lower 13 nations. The G7 nations are the United States, China, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, Germany and Canada. The Russian Federation was a member too (when it was called the G8), but they were suspended in 2014 following their annexation of Crimea. The Russians, however, will be in Hangzhou for this year’s summit. They will be joined with Australia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the U.S., the entirety of the European Union (EU) represented by the European Commision and European Central bank, plus many other nations.
The host of the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping wishes to limit discussions to promoting global economic growth, tech innovation, and removing trade barriers. However, it is expected that other nations will bring up more sensitive topics for China, such as its human rights record and territorial claims on the South China Sea. This is especially important because the Chinese government sees hosting this conference as a sign of their true global influence. Putting them on the defensive in their own country at such a prestigious event will humiliate the Chinese. This is only furthered by the fact that China has spent nearly $1 billion USD in making Hangzhou look beautiful for the conference, and that is saying a lot, as prior to the conference the city was already seen as one of the prettiest in China.
Students were also given the week off of school due to the sheer size of the event they are attempting to pull off. If successful, China will at least feel more powerful and prevalent on the world stage. If this is a failure, it will be a huge blow to their reputation, if the Chinese state run media doesn’t censor it.
The G20 summit this week was certainly interesting to say the least. While nothing too damaging ended up happening to the Chinese, President Barack Obama certainly had issues to deal with. From the Chinese refusing to provide him stairs to exit his aircraft, and the President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte insulted him using harsh language, although Dutere expressed regret later on when President Obama canceled his visit to the country after the summit.
President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation certainly had a busy week as well, meeting with the leaders of all the other G20 nations individually to discuss issues. Some were more cold than others, though. He did not take a picture with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but he did with French President François Hollande. Not too subtle of an indicator of the difference between them relations-wise. And don’t get me started on the picture taken with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The expressions on their faces looks like they’d both rather be anywhere else.
Overall, a very productive G20 meeting, with good discourse among those in the group and nobody storming out like the last time in Brisbane, Australia.