Chinese President Xi Jinping will not attend the G20 summit in India

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Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping will be absent from the upcoming G20 summit in India, according to sources familiar with the matter in both India and China.

Reports suggest that Premier Li Qiang is expected to represent Beijing at the summit, scheduled for September 9-10 in New Delhi. This summit was seen as an opportunity for Xi to potentially meet with US President Joe Biden, who has confirmed his attendance, in an effort to improve relations strained by various trade and geopolitical issues. Xi and Biden last met during the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, last November.

Chinese sources, who claim to have received briefings from Chinese officials, have not disclosed the specific reason for Xi’s anticipated absence. All sources requested anonymity since they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The prospect of a meeting between Xi and Biden has gained attention due to several high-ranking US officials visiting Beijing in recent months, including a recent trip by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. Additionally, discussions between the two leaders are also anticipated at the meeting of the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, scheduled for November 12-18 in San Francisco.

Xi, who secured an unprecedented third term as China’s leader in October, has limited international travel since the relaxation of strict border controls imposed due to the pandemic this year. Nevertheless, he did participate in a meeting of the BRICS group of emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) in South Africa last week.

Leading up to the G20 summit in India, there were controversies during several ministerial meetings as Russia and China jointly opposed statements condemning Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year. Xi and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a rare conversation on the sidelines of the BRICS meeting in Johannesburg, where they discussed easing tensions in their bilateral relationship, which had deteriorated following clashes along their Himalayan border in 2020 that resulted in 24 fatalities.

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