Hayashi Skips G-20 Opening Reception in Bali


Tokyo/Jakarta, July 8 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi did not attend Thursday's reception that marked the start of a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of 20 major economies in Bali, Indonesia, according to Japanese government sources.

Hayashi judged that it would not be appropriate for him to join the reception, which is mainly designed to be an occasion for socializing, in view of the possibility of sharing a table with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, at a time when Moscow continues its invasion of Ukraine, the sources said.

Friday's plenary meeting of G-20 foreign ministers, whose participants will also include U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, will be the first opportunity for Lavrov to face foreign ministers from Western countries, which have been strengthening their sanctions on Russia over its aggression against Ukraine, since the war started in late February this year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering attending November's G-20 summit. As G-20 member economies are divided over Putin's participation in the leaders' gathering, discussions at the G-20 foreign ministers' meeting are expected influence the fate of the upcoming summit.

Attention will also be focused on bilateral or trilateral talks to be held on the sidelines of the G-20 plenary meeting. Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold their first face-to-face meeting since October last year, while Hayashi, Blinken and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin plan to hold a three-way meeting.

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