In Asia, China rushed to take credit for the African Union’s G20 membership.
The press in G20’s several Global South participants – including China, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Indonesia – largely gave a miss to G20 coverage on the front pages of their Sunday editions.
The reportage was mostly relegated to the “global” page or the “world section” on news websites, with subjects such as financial aid, inclusion of the African Union in the multilateral forum, the Russia-Ukraine war, and US president Joe Biden’s query about the rise of his Argentina counterpart Alberto Fernandez’s political rival.
Argentinian daily La Nacion published a front page story headlined: “G20: Alberto Fernández’s response when Joe Biden asked him about Javier Milei: Who is that character?”
During his meeting with Argentina counterpart Fernández, US president Biden had asked him about his political rival Javier Milei. The Argentinian president downplayed favourable approval ratings for Milei, saying it’s similar to what happens in “other parts of the world”.
La Nacion also reported that Fernández applauded the inclusion of the African Union in G20 and batted for a similar arrangement for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, a regional bloc in Latin America and Caribbean countries.
Meanwhile, a column in Argentina daily Clarin, by its world editor Marcelo Cantelmi, pointed out that Chinese president Xi Jinping’s absence in New Delhi was borne out of domestic politics and the country’s opposition to the US.
In Brazil, focus turns to president’s promise
India formally handed over the presidency of the forum to Brazil on Sunday.
And the Brazilian press focused its attention to president’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s promise that Russian president Vladimir Putin would not be arrested if he comes to the G20 summit next year in the Latin American country, reported Folha de Sao Paulo, a Brazilian daily, on its front page.
The Russian president faces an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for “war crimes” in Ukraine.
Another daily, the Journal Do Brasil said the country will propose an “alliance against hunger” during its presidency. Another article on its website mentioned Lula’s demand for $100 billion in climate financing promised by rich countries in Copenhagen in 2009.
The Russia-Ukraine war found space on the world page of Mexican daily Excelsior, which took a sharp view of the Delhi declaration. “The G20 countries avoided criticising Russia for the invasion of Ukraine and adopted a minor consensus on climate change, which does not include the elimination of the use of fossil fuels,” read the report.
Meanwhile, in Nigeria, prominent daily The Guardian had a piece by minister Doris Uzoka-Anite. “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s G20 Summit visit to India, on the special invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is coming almost exactly 61 years after Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of the Republic of India, visited Nigeria”.
Another report said the Nigerian president had welcomed the African Union’s inclusion. “The President urged greater solidarity among nations, tasking advanced economies to support disadvantaged regions in the Global South and to promote climate justice.”
In South Africa, multimedia news portal News24, under the “Africa” section, published a Reuters report on the G20’s latest member. The headline read: “G20 leaders open summit, admit African Union as permanent member.” Another article argued that the AU membership “strengthens Africa's negotiating position and agency in global discussions”.
In Indonesia, the Jakarta Post website displayed four Reuters reports. One of them was related to climate financing. G20 leaders have decided to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 but stopped short of setting major climate goals, informed the report.
Antara News had two reports on Indonesian president Joko Widodo’s climate change concerns. “Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said that climate finance commitments from developed countries to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy have remained a rhetoric,” read a report on the state-run agency Saturday.
Widodo was only reiterating the concern of the developing world, which has long been asking for technology transfers and for developed nations to shoulder responsibilities arising from their historic use of fossil fuels.
In China, rush for credit
In Asia, China rushed to take credit for the AU membership.
In a report published by the government-run China Daily, the newspaper claimed that China was “the first country to support” the AU membership.
“At the China-Africa Leaders' Dialogue last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping again stressed that China would work actively to support the AU's full membership in the G20, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a regular press conference on Thursday,” read the report attributed to Xinhua, a state news agency.
In its editorial titled “Unity, cooperation path forward for G20”, the daily listed two “consolations”: the AU membership and a joint declaration. It lauded a “weaker” India’s efforts for the message of unity. Differences over the Ukraine crisis, it said, can lead to questions over the relevance of the multilateral forum.
Another piece in the South China Morning Post tried to stress China’s significance for the region. “The G20 formally added the 55-member state African Union to its ranks on Saturday. China is the continent’s largest trading partner and one of its largest lenders, while Russia is its leading arms provider.”
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