“The secretary intends to engage fully in the G-20. I’m not going to speak to any plans on the part of Foreign Minister Lavrov ... but I can tell you the secretary will be a full and active participant in the G-20, which we see as a valuable forum,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will see his Chinese counterpart this week at a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of 20 bloc of nations that will likely exacerbate splits over Russia’s war in Ukraine, AP reports.

While strained U.S.-China ties will be the focus of Blinken’s talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the broader G-20 gathering in Indonesia of leading industrialized nations will almost certainly be overshadowed by the Ukraine conflict and its effect on global food and energy security. And, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be there, marking the first time that he and Blinken will be in the same room, let alone the same city, at the same time in nearly six months.

The State Department announced Tuesday that Blinken would meet with Wang in Bali, but had little to say about the possibility of him seeing Lavrov, who the U.S. has shunned since the Ukraine invasion in February. U.S. officials have accused Lavrov and other Russian diplomats of a lack of seriousness in the run-up to the Ukraine war.

The Biden administration has ruled out “business as usual” with Russia while it remains in Ukraine and U.S. officials said there would be no formal discussions between Blinken and Lavrov in Bali. But, they could not rule out the possibility of a chance encounter, which would their first since they last met in Geneva in January.

© Copyright LaPresse