China’s state-run Global Times on Sunday criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for allegedly seeming disinterested in the virtual Group of 20 (G20 Summit) over the weekend.
Held November 21-22, this year’s G20 summit took place virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. Saudi Arabia hosted the international forum, open to 19 member countries and the European Union. The event is held annually for member nations to discuss international coordination of economic policy and other global issues. This year’s event included a special segment dedicated to discussing the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
The Global Times in an editorial on Sunday cited video footage of the virtual panel that allegedly “showed that Trump kept his head down when Saudi King Salman gave his opening remarks.”
“During the summit, Trump sent many tweets that had nothing to do with the G20 or COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus],” the newspaper added.
Trump’s absence at the event’s coronavirus meeting was also noted by the Global Times:
[T]he US president skipped the summit’s ‘Pandemic Preparedness’ event in favor of a trip to one of his golf clubs. Trump was clearly not interested in the G20 summit and its discussions as his mind was still fully preoccupied by the 2020 elections.
Although Trump did not attend the G20’s coronavirus side-conference, he did directly address the international response to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic while participating in the summit’s first day, Saturday.
“Trump told … [the G20] telesummit … that he wants U.S. citizens to be the first to receive vaccinations against coronavirus — a position that is in keeping with his America First ideology,” Politico reported, citing diplomats and officials who watched the videoconference.
Trump’s remarks on a future coronavirus vaccine “fit into a wider display of vaccine-nationalism by leaders participating in the summit, with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and even U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson talking up the vaccines being developed and manufactured by their own countries,” the U.S. magazine noted.
“While Trump was perhaps the most forthright of leaders in his nationalistic approach, Russia and China are effectively following a similar path by moving forward with national distribution of their own vaccines,” Politico added.
China’s state-run pharmaceutical company Sinopharm said on November 19 that it has administered its experimental coronavirus vaccine candidate to nearly one million people in the country. Russia continues to push forward with developing its own coronavirus vaccine candidate, dubbed Sputnik V.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany released an official statement on Sunday addressing the United States’ active involvement in this year’s G20 summit, acknowledging that “Trump participated in the second day” of the event.
“President Trump discussed the economic model he has enacted through cutting taxes and regulations, promoting abundant and affordable energy, and negotiating trade agreements grounded in the principles of fairness and reciprocity,” the statement said.
“President Trump expressed the importance of policies that promote workers and families. He also discussed the historic achievements made in the United States and around the world in empowering and investing in women, and called on all countries to do more,” the statement revealed.
Expressing Washington’s gratitude toward Riyadh for hosting the event, “President Trump thanked Saudi Arabia for its leadership during its G20 presidency and looked forward to working with Italy as incoming G20 president. He also encouraged the G20 to continue to work together to achieve security, prosperity, and peace for all nations.”