Xi warns G20 leaders against weaponising food and energy

Chinese president's summit appearance is only his second international visit since the start of the pandemic

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Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the world to avoid “weaponising” food and energy as the war in Ukraine and its economic fallout topped the agenda at the G20 leaders' summit in Bali.

In only his second international trip since the start of the pandemic, Mr Xi had face-to-face meetings with international leaders in a bid to reset a number of key relationships.

Mr Xi and France’s President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed that the world needed to prevent the use of nuclear arms in Ukraine at a meeting held hours after the Chinese leader agreed with US President Joe Biden that a nuclear war should not be fought as it cannot be won.

In his comments to world leaders, he appeared to balance his comments between warnings to Russia and opposition to western sanctions.

“We must firmly oppose politicisation, instrumentalisation and weaponisation of food and energy problems,” Mr Xi said.

“Drawing ideological lines and stirring up opposition among political blocs and factions will only divide the world and obstruct the advancement of humankind.”

He said the world’s wealthy nations must contain the fallout of interest rate increases, as the US Federal Reserve and other central banks move aggressively to fight inflation.

“We must contain global inflation and resolve systematic risks in the economy and finance,” Mr Xi said.

“Developed economies should reduce the negative spillover effects of their monetary policy adjustments and stabilise debts at a sustainable level.”

The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates to their highest level since before the 2008 financial crisis as it seeks to tighten the money supply in an effort to control inflation.

The US monetary stance has pushed the dollar up to levels not seen in two decades, causing distress for developing economies that rely on exports or that are trying to curb inflation themselves.

As well as Ukraine, Mr Xi and Mr Macron also discussed financial support for indebted poorer nations.

“They expressed their determination to move forward with the implementation of a common debt framework, and raised the particularly urgent case of Zambia,” the Elysee Palace said.

Mr Xi's attendance at the summit came after a three-hour meeting on Monday night with Mr Biden where the pair agreed to work to close the yawning gap between the two powers.

With smiles and handshakes – as well as promises of further talks on climate change and trade – Mr Xi returned to centre stage after three years of self-imposed pandemic isolation that drastically curtailed his foreign meetings.

His agenda also included meetings with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo – the G20 summit host – Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Japanese premier Fumio Kishida.

With Chinese-Australian high-level meetings on ice, Mr Albanese said he was “very pleased” to be meeting Mr Xi at the summit.

“We have had our differences,” he acknowledged but added that “our bilateral relationship is an important one”.

Additional reporting by agencies

Updated: November 15, 2022, 9:53 AM
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