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Written by Diana Thebaud Nicholson // May 25, 2023 // Geopolitics, Multilateralism // No comments
Multilateral Organisation Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN)
Quad Summit at Hiroshima May Have Been Low-Key on China but the Tension Looms
As India is set to host Quad Summit in 2024, innovative measures & renewed focus on policy and action are warranted.
C Uday Bhaskar
(The Quint) …the Quad nations (Australia, India, Japan, and the USA) met on the sidelines of the G7, and the joint statement issued on 20 May by the four leaders is a significant indicator of reiterating their collective resolve to uphold international law and ensure that the Indo-Pacific remains a free and open domain.
The subtext here is a reference to China’s revisionist stance in the South China Sea and intimidation of Taiwan. Consequently, the China thread at the Hiroshima deliberations (G7 and Quad) and the US-China bilateral relationship merit preliminary analysis, given the multi-layered implications for India.
… Prime Minister Narendra Modi co-chaired the FIPIC (Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation) with his PNG counterpart PM James Marape while the USA concluded a separate bilateral agreement with the Pacific Islands.
… The strategic takeaway from these summits is the primacy accorded to the war in Ukraine by the G7 and the manner in which China is dealt with by the leaders at the Hiroshima deliberations. The G7 final document is extensive at over 19,000 words … [and] It is instructive that the China reference is tucked away towards the end of the G7 document (in paragraph 50 in a total of 66) and the semantic choice is persuasive and seeks to encourage Beijing to engage with the US-led G7.
May 19-21, 2023
Issues to be addressed at the G7 Hiroshima Summit
Upholding the international order based on the rule of law: Demonstrating G7’s strong determination to uphold the international order based on the rule of law, firmly rejecting any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force or the threat to use nuclear weapons, as Russia has done, or the use of nuclear weapons.
Outreach to the Global South: Strengthening outreach to the Global South, by demonstrating G7’s contributions to the issues of their concern.
Arab world pins hopes on unity as Jeddah Declaration adopted at Arab League Summit
(Xinhua) The 32nd Arab League Summit concluded on Friday in the Saudi city of Jeddah by adopting the Jeddah Declaration, which calls for Arab unity to solve regional issues.
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit highlighted the success of the Jeddah summit in achieving its goal, expressing hope that the summit would be a beginning for the Arab countries to grasp their fate in their own hands.
The Jeddah Declaration shows Saudi Arabia’s seriousness
(Arab news) The initiatives that the Saudi government will work on during the 12-month period in which it will preside over the Arab grouping are impressive. They include, for example, an interest in green culture by supporting environmentally friendly cultural practices and employing them in support of the creative economy in Arab countries and in ensuring Arab food security. Initiatives mentioned in the final communique included an interest in water desalination and the establishment of intellectual incubators/think tanks to deal with the pressing problems facing Arabs.
As the G7 leaders sent a strong message to Russia by inviting Volodymyr Zelensky to Hiroshima, another rival was also on their minds – China.
… They have also launched a “coordination platform” to counter the coercion and work with emerging economies. While it’s still vague on how this would work exactly, we’re likely to see countries helping each other out by increasing trade or funding to work around any blockages put up by China.
The G7 also plans to strengthen supply chains for important goods such as minerals and semiconductors, and beef up digital infrastructure to prevent hacking and stealing of technology.
Arab League concludes summit, adopts Jeddah Declaration
(Al Arabiya English) The Arab League concluded its 32nd summit by adopting the Jeddah Declaration, reaffirming the need for unity to achieve security and stability.
The summit, which discussed various topics, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and developments in Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Lebanon, convened in Jeddah and saw Syria’s participation for the first time in over a decade. The bloc welcomed Syria’s return to the Arab League following years of isolation and voiced hope that this move would contribute “to Syria’s stability and unity.”
Syria’s Bashar al-Assad attends Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has spoken of an “historic opportunity” for Arab states to remake their region “with the least amount of foreign interference”, in his first trip to an Arab League summit in over a decade. Meanwhile Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was also invited to the summit, accused some Arab leaders of wilfully ignoring to Russia’s invasion. Syria is the only Arab League nation to have openly supported Russia’s war.
Ukraine’s Zelenskiy visits Saudi, seeks Arab League support for his people
(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attended a summit of the Arab League in Saudi Arabia on Friday to canvas support for his people, while Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed his readiness to mediate in the war between Moscow and Kyiv.
Arab leaders and officials arrive in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah for Arab League summit
(Al Arabiya English) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrived Thursday in Saudi Arabia to join an Arab League summit for the first time in more than a decade of war.
Al-Assad “arrived at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah to participate in… the Arab League summit” on Friday, Syrian state television reported.
Leaders from Oman, Mauritania, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Lebanon, Palestine and Yemen also arrived in Jeddah to participate in the summit, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Bashar al-Assad tells Arab League he hopes his return marks new era of peace
Assad is attending summit in Saudi Arabia after 12 years outside bloc over Syrian civil war
What Is the ‘Quad’ Alliance and Why Doesn’t China Like It?
(WaPo) The informal grouping brings together the US, Japan, India and Australia in an alliance of democracies with shared economic and security interests that span the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The point officially is to maintain a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” but the unstated priority is countering China’s growing power, which rankles the leadership in Beijing. The Quad has its critics, who question the group’s sometimes-ambiguous goals and ask how effective it can be given that some members are wary of provoking China. Still, it’s set to become more relevant as US-China tensions persist and Russia’s invasion of its neighbor sharpens Western security alliances.
The group has seen new momentum under the administration of US President Joe Biden, who plans to travel to Japan May 17. He scrapped plans for a visit to Australia where Quad leaders had planned to meet on May 24. When the leaders gathered for a summit in Tokyo last year, they announced a program aimed at curbing illegal fishing across the Indo-Pacific amid growing concern about the activities of Chinese vessels. That followed a virtual conference in 2021 — the first-ever gathering of the Quad leaders, which resulted in a pledge to fund India to accelerate production of Covid-19 vaccines and distribute them across Asia. The group wasn’t always this active. It lay dormant for years before being revived in 2017 by the US under then-President Donald Trump, whose government was intent on confronting China. Yet Trump’s erratic diplomacy left some allies hesitant to line up behind the US on China. When Biden replaced Trump, he pledged to work more closely with allies while continuing a tough stance on China.
G-7 Plus Wooing the Global South
The Group of Seven advanced economies will hold its annual summit starting Friday in Hiroshima, Japan. But it won’t just be seven leaders showing up. Five nations that are members of the bigger G-20 will also be coming: Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Korea.
(Nikkei) Indonesia this week hosted the two-day annual ASEAN leaders’ summit in Labuan Bajo, on the eastern Indonesian island of Flores. One of the main agenda items was the South China Sea, a topic on which Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is taking a dramatically different direction than his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte. This week’s Asia Insight looks into Manila’s push to increase military cooperation with the U.S. to protect its claims in the area, which could embolden other ASEAN states with maritime claims of their own.
Philippines’ Marcos muscles up ASEAN’s South China Sea posture
China tensions loom over bloc summit as Malaysia asserts gas rights, Vietnam hones defense
(Nikkei) This week, the South China Sea dispute is expected to be high on the agenda when leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations hold their summit in Indonesia. ASEAN states Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam also lay claims to parts of the waterway, through which around $3 trillion worth of trade passes annually.
Southeast Asian leaders urge end of Myanmar violence, inclusive talks
The meeting in the sleepy Indonesian fishing town is being held as Myanmar’s military intensifies attacks and air strikes on resistance forces and ethnic minority rebels as it tries to consolidate power ahead of a planned election.
ASEAN leaders to tackle regional crises at tropical resort
The 10-nation regional bloc and its member states will meet for three days starting Tuesday, with the growing rivalry between the United States and China as a backdrop.
U.S. President Joe Biden has been reinforcing an arc of alliances in the Indo-Pacific region to better counter China over Taiwan and the long-seething territorial conflicts in the strategic South China Sea which involve four ASEAN members: Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Indonesia, this year’s ASEAN chair, has also confronted Chinese fishing fleets and coast guard that have strayed into what Jakarta says was its internationally recognized exclusive economic zone in the gas-rich Natuna Sea.
C Uday Bhaskar: The EU’s struggle to find a unified stance on China will shape the US-China contest
(SCMP) This has been a month of heightened diplomatic activity in East Asia with Chinese President Xi Jinping hosting his French and Brazilian counterparts in Beijing while Tokyo convened a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven in preparation for next month’s G7 summit
The freshly concluded Tokyo meeting of G7 foreign ministers was a foretaste of the collective resolve. … This commitment will be the core principle for the coming G7 summit. The US-led Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, which includes Japan, India and Australia, have a similar orientation regarding the rules-based order, including in their stance on the South China Sea, where concerns have been expressed over the issue of China changing the status quo.
The World Could Move Toward Russia and China
(NYT) Last fall, eight months into the new world disorder created by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the University of Cambridge’s Bennett Institute for Public Policy produced a long report on trends in global public opinion before and after the outbreak of the war.
Not surprisingly, the data showed that the conflict had shifted public sentiment in developed democracies in East Asia and Europe, as well as the United States, uniting their citizens against both Russia and China and shifting mass opinion in a more pro-American direction.
But outside this democratic bloc, the trends were very different. For a decade before the Ukraine war, public opinion across “a vast span of countries stretching from continental Eurasia to the north and west of Africa,” in the report’s words, had become more favorable to Russia even as Western public opinion became more hostile.
The UN 2023 Water Conference – formally known as the 2023 Conference for the Midterm Comprehensive Review of Implementation of the UN Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation (2018-2028) – will take place at UN Headquarters in New York, 22-24 March 2023, co-hosted by Tajikistan and the Netherlands.
(Nikkei Asia) Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will visit India from March 19 and meet his counterpart Narendra Modi. Kishida chairs the G-7, while India holds the presidency of this year’s G-20. The Japanese prime minister plans to invite the Indian and Australian leaders to the G-7 summit in Hiroshima in May. As two leaders of the Quad grouping, Kishida and Modi have common concerns about China and maintaining a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” Some speculate that Kishida might visit Ukraine after his India trip.
Summit for Democracy 2023
On March 29-30, 2023, the United States will co-host the second Summit for Democracy with the governments of Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Republic of Korea, and Republic of Zambia.
The second Summit for Democracy will assemble world leaders in a virtual, plenary format, followed by gatherings in each of the co-hosted countries with representatives from government, civil society, and the private sector. Co-hosting the second Summit for Democracy with a regionally diverse group of co-hosts reinforces the truth that a safer and fairer world grounded in democratic values is both a shared aspiration and a shared responsibility.
Building on the first Summit for Democracy held in December 2021, this gathering will highlight how democracies deliver for their citizens and are best equipped to address the world’s most pressing challenges.
Turkey is blocking NATO’s expansion. It could backfire and hand Putin a propaganda coup
CNN — When Sweden and Finland declared their intention to join NATO last May, it was seen by many as a poke in the eye for Russia and evidence of a shift in European thinking. Historically, both countries had committed to non-alignment with NATO as a way of avoiding provoking Moscow. The invasion of Ukraine changed that.
Both Finland and Sweden – along with the vast majority of NATO allies – would like to see the countries formally join the alliance at a NATO summit on July 11. However, a significant hurdle stands in the way of this becoming a reality: Turkey has yet to give the plan its formal and official blessing.
Turkey is not the only nation blocking the move: Hungary has also failed to ratify the Nordics’ accession which further muddies the waters. However, right now getting Turkey on side is considered the priority.
Grand test for Indian diplomacy as American, Chinese and Russian ministers meet in Delhi
CNN — Foreign ministers from the world’s biggest economies convened in New Delhi Thursday in what was seen as a grand test for Indian diplomacy, which ultimately didn’t succeed in reaching a consensus because of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
In the second high-level ministerial meeting under India’s Group of 20 (G20) presidency this year, foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, met his American, Chinese and Russian counterparts, hoping to find enough common ground to deliver a joint statement at the end of the summit.
But amid festering divisions over Moscow’s war, New Delhi was unable to convince the leaders to put their differences aside, with Jaishankar admitting the conflict had struggled to unite the group.
India, the world’s largest democracy with a population of more than 1.3 billion, has been keen to position itself as a leader of emerging and developing nations – often referred to as the Global South – at a time when soaring food and energy prices as a result of the war are hammering consumers already grappling with rising costs and inflation.
Debt in focus as G20 finance chiefs meet in India
(Reuters) – G20 finance and central bank chiefs meet in India next week at the first-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to discuss rising debt troubles among developing countries, the regulation of cryptocurrencies and the global slowdown.
The Feb. 22-25 meeting is the first major event of India’s G20 presidency and will be followed by a March 1-2 meeting of foreign ministers in New Delhi.
The Economist writes: The global economy is still grappling with the effects of the war, with the West still trying to tamp down inflation as interest rates continue to climb. The rising costs of finance, energy and food have pushed some countries to the edge of bankruptcy. This will be in the news this week as finance ministers from members of the G20 gather in India, with the plight of heavily indebted countries high on the agenda. On this issue, as on so much else, America and China find themselves pulling in opposite directions. China is refusing to play by the old rules of international financial diplomacy. . Sri Lanka, in urgent need of a bail-out, and deeply in hock to China, may test the willingness of the West and the IMF to go it alone—i.e., to provide the money and restructure the debt without China’s taking part in the process.
MOPAN attended the Annual Nordic United Nations Assembly to discuss systemic issues impacting effective multilateralism. Facing several crises, there are huge pressures and demands on the system that that can be countered by focusing on 3 key factors: ◾ Focus on building trust – to ensure effective co-operation and deliver inclusive solutions. ◾ Focus on learning – use MOPAN’s performance information to understand good practices. ◾ Focus on coordination – across multilateral organisations and within and across government administrations.
Four Contending U.S. Approaches to Multilateralism
Stewart Patrick, senior fellow and director of the Global Order and Institutions Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
(Carnegie) … This historical moment is defined by two countervailing trends, as described in the 2022 National Security Strategy issued by U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration. The first is a profusion of transnational challenges that can only be addressed, mitigated, or resolved through collective action, such as climate change and pandemic disease. The second is a resurgence of geopolitical competition that hinders that very cooperation.1 The imperative for collective action has never been greater, yet the world remains, as United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres bemoans, “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction.”
Within the U.S. foreign policy establishment, four distinct models vie for primacy—and the administration’s attention. The first is a charter conception of multilateralism, focused on the UN’s model of universal membership. The second is a club approach, which seeks to rally established democracies as the foundation for world order. The third is a concert model, which seeks comity and joint action among the world’s major powers. The fourth is a coalition approach, which would tailor ad hoc frameworks to each global contingency. Each of the so-called four Cs lays claim to a respective virtue: legitimacy, solidarity, capability, and flexibility.