Biden hopes Xi Jinping will attend G20 amid reports Chinese President will miss Delhi summit | G20

Joe Biden said he hoped Xi Jinping would attend the G20 leaders’ summit in India next week, after reports that the Chinese president would miss the meeting.

“I hope he will attend,” Biden told reporters Thursday in Washington, as some American officials said. Reduce chances Which suggests this is likely to happen at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, conference in San Francisco in November.

On Thursday, Reuters reported on Xi’s possible absence. Reuters quoted analysts as saying that any decision by Xi to skip the meeting may be related to competition with host India. They said the move could be a sign that China is reluctant to lend influence to its southern neighbour, which boasts one of the fastest-growing major economies as China slows.

Reuters said that two of three sources in China said that Chinese officials informed them of the expected absence, but they were not aware of the reason.

The two countries clashed this week after Beijing released a map showing Arunachal Pradesh and the Doklam plateau, which the two sides have disputed in the past, as falling within China’s borders.

India submitted a formal objection to China on Tuesday. Beijing urged India to “remain calm” over the map, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Wednesday calling on countries to refrain from “over-interpreting” the map, which also claims disputed areas in the South China Sea.

Xi has attended all other G20 summits in person since becoming president in 2013, except in 2021 during the Covid pandemic when he joined via video link.

Premier Li Qiang is expected to represent Beijing at the G20 meeting in New Delhi, which begins on September 9, two Indian officials, a diplomat based in China and an official working in the government of another G20 country said.

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

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

The summit in India was seen as a venue for a potential meeting between Xi and Biden, who has confirmed his attendance, as the two superpowers seek to stabilize relations strained by trade and geopolitical tensions.

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

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

The G20 summit is seen as an important showcase for India, as the country emerges from a successful moon landing and is promoting itself as a rising power with attractive markets and a source of global supply chain diversification.

But relations between the G20 host nation and China have been turbulent for more than three years after soldiers from both sides clashed on the Himalayan border in June 2020, leading to the deaths of 24 people.

Farwa Amer, director of South Asia Initiatives at the Asian Community Policy Institute (ASPI) in New York, said Xi’s absence from the summit could be interpreted as China being “reluctant to cede center stage” to India.

“China does not want India to be the voice of the Global South, or to be that Himalayan country that hosts the very successful G20 summit,” she said.

Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi met at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, last month.
Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi met at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, last month. Photo: Reuters

Expectations of a meeting between Xi and Biden have been fueled by a group of senior US officials who have visited Beijing in recent months, including Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo earlier this week.

Xi, who secured a third term as leader last October, has made few trips abroad since China abruptly dropped strict border controls brought on by the epidemic this year.

While he played a prominent role at a meeting in South Africa last week of leaders of the BRICS group of major emerging economies, the Chinese government did not provide any reason for his absence from the business forum there.

The Chinese Minister of Commerce delivered his scheduled speech instead.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a rare conversation with Xi on the sidelines of the BRICS summit and highlighted India’s concerns over the border dispute between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

Several G20 ministerial meetings in India ahead of the summit were contentious, with Russia and China jointly opposing joint statements that included passages condemning Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine last year.

with Reuters

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