Xi Jinping follows in Putin’s footsteps: he is considering not attending the G20 summit in India

Sources of the organization indicated that Premier Li Qiang would be in charge of representing the Asian giant at the leaders’ meeting to be held in New Delhi.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is unlikely to attend the G20 leaders’ summit to be held in India next week, sources familiar with the matter in India and China have told Reuters.

Two Indian officials, a China-based diplomat and an official working for the government of another G20 country said Premier Li Qiang is expected to represent Beijing at the Sept. 9-10 meeting in New Delhi.

Spokespersons for the Indian and Chinese foreign ministries did not respond to requests for comment.

Li is also likely to attend a summit of East and Southeast Asian leaders in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sept. 5-7, according to a Kyodo report.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has already announced that he will not travel to New Delhi and will send Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov instead.

The India summit had been seen as a venue where Xi could meet U.S. President Joe Biden, who has confirmed his attendance, at a time when the two superpowers are trying to stabilize their relations, soured by a series of trade and geopolitical tensions.

Xi last met with Biden on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, last November.

A senior government official in host India told Reuters that “we are aware that the prime minister will be coming,” instead of Xi. In China, two foreign diplomats and a government official from another G20 country said it is likely that Xi will not travel to the summit.

Two of these three sources in China said they had been briefed by Chinese officials, but were unaware of the reason for Xi’s planned absence.

All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The anticipation of a meeting between Xi and Biden has been fueled by visits to Beijing by senior U.S. officials in recent months, including a trip by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo earlier this week.

Another upcoming summit where the two leaders are expected to meet is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting, to be held in San Francisco from Nov. 12-18.

Xi, who won an unprecedented third term last October, has made few foreign trips since China abruptly lifted strict border controls triggered by the pandemic this year.

He did, however, attend a meeting in South Africa last week of leaders of the BRICS group of major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Several G20 ministerial meetings held in India prior to the summit have been contentious, with Russia and China jointly opposing joint statements that included paragraphs condemning Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine last year.

Xi and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a rare conversation on the sidelines of the BRICS meeting in Johannesburg and talked about reducing tensions in the bilateral relationship that soured after clashes on their Himalayan border in 2020 that left 24 soldiers dead.

  • When is the G20 summit in India?

The G20 Summit will be held in New Delhi at ‘Bharat Mandappam’ at ITPO Convention Centre, Pragati Maidan. The event will be held on Septemberr 9 and 10.


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