April 22, 2022
SEOUL – South Korea’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki kept his seat while other fiscal chiefs or central bank governors walked out of a G-20 meeting in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the ministry on Thursday.
According to overseas news reports and remarks from British officials, top officials from the US, Canada and the UK left the G-20 finance ministerial meeting, held in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, while Russian delegates were delivering their speech.
Among the top officials of the three nations were US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Canada’s Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey.
Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak tweeted that “earlier my representatives, along with US and Canadian counterparts left today’s G-20 meeting in Washington as Russian delegates spoke.”
He added, “We are united in our condemnation of Russia’s war against Ukraine and will push for stronger international coordination to punish Russia.”
Canada’s Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Freeland wrote on Twitter that “this week’s meetings in Washington are about supporting the world economy — and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is a grave threat to the global economy. Russia should not be participating or included in these meetings.”
Earlier this week, US officials said that Treasury Secretary Yellen would seek to avoid contact with the Russian delegate during the G-20 events.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire — during his joining the meeting remotely — reportedly turned off his screen when Russia’s speech started, as a participation in the protest. Among G-7 members of the G-20 meeting, ministers from Italy and Japan reporteldy did not leave the meeting.
Korea’s finance minister, who also did not exit, delivered a speech on international concerted measures against impacts from the Ukraine-Russia war.
On the same day, Hong held a bilateral meeting with Yellen of the US.
Other G-20 members comprise China, Indonesia, India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and the chair of the European Union council (which is France currently).