The intergovernmental forum should not be used as a platform for bickering, Beijing’s foreign ministry has said President Xi Jinping of China attends a prior working session on food and energy security during the G20 Summit on November 15, 2022 in Nusa Dua, Indonesia. © Getty Images / Leon Neal/Getty Images

China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday that the purpose of the G20 forum is to discuss matters of global economic cooperation and should not be used as a platform for amplifying geopolitical disagreements.

The intergovernmental summit, which kicked off on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will act as the first major congress of key foreign ministers this year.

The G20 Brazil website has listed several topics to be discussed, including “the situation in the Middle East and the Russian offensive in Ukraine” – situations it says have led to international concern “over the humanitarian crisis and the geopolitical and economic consequences of the conflicts.”

However, according to Beijing’s foreign ministry, which issued a statement on Wednesday through its spokeswoman, Mao Ning, such topics were never intended to be within the G20’s remit.

“The G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation, not a platform for resolving geopolitical and security issues,” Mao said in a press briefing. “This is a G20 consensus,” she said, adding that she expects the meeting of foreign ministers to “contribute to global economic growth.”

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Earlier on Wednesday, Moscow issued its objection to Ukraine’s security being part of the summit’s agenda, saying in a statement issued by its foreign ministry that the issue is “non-core” for the G20.

“The Russian delegation intends to draw the special attention of partners to the unacceptability of the politicization of the G20, which, according to its mandate, is designed to focus strictly on socio-economic challenges,” Moscow’s foreign ministry said on its website.

The inclusion of “the Ukrainian issue,” which Moscow said was “on the G20 agenda at the instigation of the West,” can only be interpreted as being “destructive,” the statement continued.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has traveled to Brazil for the event, which is also to be attended by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. However, no formal meeting between both countries’ top diplomats has been scheduled.

At the last G20 in India in September, the group issued a Leaders’ Declaration that did not condemn Moscow for its offensive in Ukraine but highlighted the human suffering that has come as a result of it, and called on all sides to restrict the use of force. Lavrov subsequently praised the consensus.

Speaking to Brazil’s O Globo newspaper in comments published on Wednesday, Lavrov said that “Russia is open to resolving the conflict peacefully” but until “Russophobic policies” in Kiev and the collective West are dropped, Moscow’s “decisions will be based on our national interests.” (RT)