TOKYO – The absence of Mexican President Andres Lopez Obrador at the upcoming G20 summit to be held in Osaka next week is unfortunate, a high-ranking Japanese finance ministry official said on Wednesday.
Lopez Obrador announced during a press conference on June 4 that he would not be attending the June 28-29 summit of the heads of state or government and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union because matters at such meetings were being discussed superficially.
Reacting to the Mexican leader’s decision, Masatsugu Asakawa, Japan’s Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, said the reason behind Lopez Obrador’s absence could be different than stated.
Speaking to reporters at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, Asakawa, who is overseeing the high-profile summit preparations, attributed the Mexican president skipping the meeting to “some circumstances,” which he did not elaborate
Asked about Lopez Obrador stating that the G20 does not properly address the problems of global inequality, Asakawa said that was “not necessarily” the reason for his absence.
The G20 is an initiative led by the finance ministers of the member countries, which represent the most developed economies and other developing nations, including Mexico.
In the press conference in early June, Lopez Obrador said that Finance Minster Carlos Urzua and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard would represent Mexico at the summit.
The Mexican leader urged the developed nations that make up the G20 to analyze “problems of inequality in the world.”
The Mexican president also said he did not want to witness a “direct confrontation” in Osaka given that the trade war between the United States and China was going to be discussed at the event.
The Japanese vice-minister said the Mexican finance minister’s presence at the event would allow for a constructive discussion in Osaka despite Lopez Obrador’s absence.
The G20 group consists of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United States and the European Union.