U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday attributed the absence of criticism of Russia for its invasion on Ukraine to gaps in positions between Russia, China and the G-20. Specifically, Mr. Biden said the Russia-Ukraine war was not a “wedge issue” between the Global South and the U.S. or the West.
Speaking at a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, shortly after the conclusion of his whirlwind trip to New Delhi for the G-20 Summit, a visibly exhausted Mr. Biden was questioned on the language describing the war in Ukraine in the New Delhi declaration. The document did not name Russia directly or call it out for the invasion of Ukraine, unlike the G-20 Bali declaration from 2022.
“It’s not a wedge issue with the Global South, it’s a wedge issue with Russia which is present and with China, which is present…,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Biden said there was “sufficient” agreement at the G2-0 on the need for a “just and lasting peace that upholds the principles of the UN Charter and respect sovereignty and territorial integrity” .
Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his hospitality in New Delhi, Mr. Biden said that he had held substantial discussions with the Prime Minister on continuing to strengthen the India-U.S. relationship, building on the Prime Minister’s June state visit to Washington DC. He also said that he had brought up the topic of human rights with Mr. Modi.
“And as I always do, I raised the importance of respecting human rights and the vital role of civil society and a free press have in building a strong and prosperous country with Mr. Modi,” Mr. Biden said.
The U.S. press had repeatedly questioned White House officials on Mr. Biden’s flight to India as well as on a briefing call during the New Delhi visit, on the limited access to press and more generally on whether the Biden administration was discussing human rights with the Modi government.