US' Antony Blinken to meet Chinese foreign minister at G-20, silent on Russia
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart this week in Indonesia at a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of 20 bloc of the world's leading industrialised nations, the State Department said Tuesday.
Blinken will see China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the G-20 gathering in Bali, the department said in a statement that made no mention of any possible meeting between Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who will also be attending the G-20 event.
Blinken and Lavrov last met in Geneva, Switzerland in January in what turned out to be a fruitless bid to forestall Russia's invasion of Ukraine a month later.
Since then, Blinken and Lavrov have not been in the same room, or even the same city, at the same time. It was not immediately clear if either of the two would have time or desire for a discussion in Bali.
The US and China are at severe odds over numerous issues ranging from trade and human rights to Taiwan and disputes in the South China Sea. They are also divided over Russia's war in Ukraine, with China supporting the Russian explanation for the conflict.
Blinken “will reinforce our commitment to working with international partners to confront global challenges, including food and energy insecurity and the threat Russia's continued war against Ukraine presents to the international order,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
From Bali, Blinken will travel to Bangkok, Thailand, to make up for a trip to the Thai capital that he was forced to cancel late last year due to Covid-19 reasons.
Former Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived in Thailand Thursday evening following his departure from Singapore. Rajapaksa was granted entry into Thailand following a request from the Sri Lankan government, NewsWire reported. He left Singapore on Thursday after nearly a month's stay in Singapore. Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced the official resignation of Rajapaksa on July 15. Sri Lanka has been facing its worst economic crisis since its independence.
China's high-tech Chinese research vessel, which was to dock at Sri Lanka's Hambantota Port, won't reach there as scheduled, according to a media report on Thursday, citing the port authorities. Newsfirst.lk website reported that the Harbour Master for the Hambantota Port said no vessel can enter the port without his permission. It said the Chinese ballistic missile and satellite tracking ship 'Yuan Wang 5' will not reach Hambantota Port on Thursday.
The average price of US retail gasoline fell below $4 per gallon on Thursday for the first time in months, giving some relief to drivers in the world's largest consumer of the fuel. The national average price for regular unleaded gas fell to $3.990 a gallon on Thursday, according to the American Automobile Association. The latest price drop may help President Joe Biden's administration and Democrats in Congress during November's midterm elections.
Russia and Ukraine accused each other of new shelling near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Thursday ahead of a UN Security Council meeting to address concerns over the facility's security. Kyiv nuclear agency Energoatom said later that there had been fresh Russian shelling near one of the plant's six reactors that had caused "extensive smoke" and "several radiation sensors are damaged". The Security Council is expected to meet at 1900 GMT.
Much like with Covid-19, the monkeypox health crisis in the US is hitting Black and Hispanic Americans hard. Yet those groups are so far lagging in vaccination rates, early data obtained by Bloomberg News show. In some major US cities with outbreaks, White people are getting the majority of vaccinations, data collected by Bloomberg show. In Chicago, 55% of vaccines have gone to White people. In Washington, D.C., 63.5% of vaccine recipients identify as White.