New Delhi, September 4
Beijing officially announced on Monday that the Chinese delegation to the Delhi G20 summit will be led by Premier Li Qiang, this indirectly indicating President Xi Jinping will not attend. Xi has also skipped the ASEAN summit, which is being held a couple of days before the G20 summit. Li will lead the Chinese delegation to the Jakarta meet as well as head for India from there.
A much-anticipated meeting between US President Joe Biden and Xi will now have to await the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit to be held in San Francisco in November. Recently, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo was the latest US leader to head for Beijing, where her main interlocutor was the Chinese Premier. Biden, however, is scheduled to hold a bilateral with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 8, the White House has announced. The two leaders could also meet at APEC, where PM Modi has been especially invited.
Xi’s dropping out is the third confirmed abstention from the G20 summit after Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Mexican President, who has skipped previous G20 summits as well. Confirmations from the Turkish President and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia are still awaited.
“The G20 is the main forum for international economic cooperation and China has always placed great importance on and proactively taken part in such events,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning when asked at a media briefing why China’s leader would not attend.
At the same time, Mao would not directly confirm that Li’s attendance meant that Xi would not go, although she did not correct reporters who made that assertion. However, as a matter of convention, the Chinese President and Premier are never concurrently abroad.
US President Joe Biden has said he was disappointed Xi was not going to the summit but added that he was going to "get to see him".
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