G20 Summit: China indicates that Xi Jinping will not attend the meeting in India, and Premier Li Qiang will travel

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China indicated on Monday that leader Xi Jinping will not take part in a major gathering of the world’s 20 largest economies for the first time, with Premier Li Qiang traveling to the event in New Delhi this weekend instead.

Xi’s absence from the G-20 summit comes as tensions escalate between China and host country India, particularly over their disputed border and New Delhi’s growing ties with the United States.

The absence of the Chinese supreme leader – unprecedented since the first summit in 2008 – is likely to be seen as a snub for India, which is hosting the powerful group of world leaders for the first time amid efforts to boost its global influence. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Questions about Xi’s attendance at the meeting were first raised last week when Reuters It reported that the Chinese leader was likely to miss the meeting, citing two unnamed Indian diplomats.

At a regular press conference on Monday, China’s foreign ministry said that Li, China’s second most senior leader, He will attend the summit on Saturday and Sunday without mentioning anything.

Mao Ning, a spokesman for the ministry, avoided a reporter’s question about why Xi was not present.

“The G20 is a major forum for international economic cooperation, and China has always attached great importance to and actively participated in related activities,” Mao said, without elaborating on the substance of the matter.

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Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Xi attended the meetings in 2020 and 2021 via video link.

Nor will Russian President Vladimir Putin, who faces an international arrest warrant for alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Russia will be represented by its foreign minister instead.

Brian Hart, fellow for the China Energy Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Xi’s absence from the G-20 summit would be “very conspicuous,” but given Beijing’s opacity, one can only speculate about the reasons behind the decision.

It could be a deliberate snub for India, or it could be that Xi is preoccupied with domestic issues. “It is also possible that Xi does not feel that the timing is right for him to meet certain leaders, such as President Biden or Prime Minister Modi,” he added.

“But perceptions matter. Regardless of whether it is intended as a pejorative for India, some will see it that way.

Beijing’s announcement dashed hopes that Xi and US President Joe Biden might meet at the summit, as the two superpowers seek to stabilize their strained relations.

In anticipation of confirmation from Beijing, Biden on Sunday publicly expressed his disappointment that he would not see Xi in New Delhi.

“I’m disappointed – but I’m going to get to see it,” Biden told reporters on Sunday.

Biden had earlier told CNN that he would meet Xi in the “autumn.”

The last time the two leaders spoke in person was in November 2022 on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, where they pledged to restore channels of communication in a bid to prevent simmering tensions from spiraling into open conflict. This meeting is the only time the two have met in person since Biden took office.

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Four US government officials have visited Beijing in recent months, after a suspected Chinese spy balloon derailed emerging efforts at rapprochement earlier this year.

Xi’s absence from the G20 summit also means he will not hold a formal bilateral meeting with Modi, as the nuclear-armed neighbors remain at odds over their disputed borders.

Shi and Modi Agreed and “stepping up efforts” to de-escalate border tensions last month on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in South Africa – seen as a step towards mending their fraught relationship.

But tensions rose again last week when India applied.Strong protestAgainst the newly published national map by China which it said includes the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and the disputed Aksai Chin Plateau in Chinese territory.

The disputed border has long been a source of friction between New Delhi and Beijing, as the tension spilled over into the 1962 war that ended with China’s victory.

Tensions rose again in 2020 after a deadly brawl in Galwan Valley left 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese dead.

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