New Delhi Declaration reaffirms G-20 is body for economic issues, ‘not geopolitics’: China

Beijing ‘welcomes’ India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor initiative but says ‘should not become geopolitical tool’

Updated - September 12, 2023 07:52 am IST

Published - September 11, 2023 09:23 pm IST - New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Chinese Premier Li Qiang upon his arrival at the Bharat Mandapam for the G20 Summit, in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Chinese Premier Li Qiang upon his arrival at the Bharat Mandapam for the G20 Summit, in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: PTI

China on September 11 in its first official reaction to the G-20 Summit said it welcomed the New Delhi Declaration which had “reaffirmed” that the G-20 was a form for “economic cooperation” and “not a platform to resolve geopolitical and security issues.”

Beijing said it also “welcomed” the ambitious new India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) plan unveiled on Saturday — announced by India, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union, seen as a counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — but said it should not become a “geopolitical tool”. The IMEC comprises an Eastern Corridor connecting India to the Gulf region and a Northern Corridor connecting the Gulf to Europe, and will include a railway and ship-rail transit network and road transport routes.

“China welcomes all initiatives that truly help developing countries build infrastructure and sincere efforts to promote connectivity and common development,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement to media. “At the same time, we advocate that various connectivity initiatives should be open, inclusive, and form synergy, and should not become geopolitical tools.”

Asked about the G-20 New Delhi Declaration not mentioning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine unlike last year’s Bali Declaration, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said “China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and clear.”

“The G-20 leaders’ declaration is the result of consensus through consultation and reflects the common understanding of all members. The New Delhi Summit reaffirms that the G-20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation, not a platform to resolve geopolitical and security issues,” Ms. Mao said. “We always believe that the key to the final resolution of the Ukraine crisis lies in discarding the Cold War mentality, attaching importance to and respecting all sides’ legitimate security concerns, and seeking a political solution through dialogue and negotiation. China will stay committed to promoting peace talks and work together with the international community for the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.”

Ms. Mao said that at the summit, Chinese Premier Li Qiang “elaborated on China’s views and propositions on G-20 cooperation, calling on all parties to stick to the original aspiration of solidarity and cooperation, live up to the responsibility for peace and development as required by our times, and be partners in promoting the world economic recovery, open cooperation and global sustainable development.”

Constructive role

“The summit adopted a leaders’ declaration, which reflects China’s proposition and states that the G-20 would act in concrete ways through partnerships, sending a positive signal of the G-20 working together to tackle global challenges and promote world economic recovery and global development,” she said. “In the process of preparing for this New Delhi summit, China played a constructive role and always supported the summit in attaching importance to the concerns of developing countries and reaching fruitful outcomes in support of common development.”

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson added that Mr. Li had “brief conversations with leaders of other countries including U.S. President Joe Biden at the venue”. 

“During the brief conversation with President Biden, Premier Li stressed that China’s development is an opportunity, not a challenge, to the U.S. and the two countries should step up exchanges,” she said, adding that “President Biden said that the U.S. hopes to see China’s economy growing and will not hurt its growth.”

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