Chinese President Xi Jinping has yet to confirm to India whether he will attend the Group of 20 summit starting next week in New Delhi, according to Indian officials familiar with the situation.
(Bloomberg) — Chinese President Xi Jinping has yet to confirm to India whether he will attend the Group of 20 summit starting next week in New Delhi, according to Indian officials familiar with the situation.
India is still preparing as if Xi will attend in terms of security protocols and other formalities, but it remains unclear if he will show up, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. Other key leaders such as US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have all confirmed their attendance, the officials said.
Reuters earlier reported that Xi was likely to skip the summit, citing unidentified government and diplomatic sources. Instead, Chinese Premier Li Qiang is expected to represent Beijing at the meeting to be held in New Delhi, the report said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said he had “nothing to offer at the moment” when asked at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Thursday if Xi or Li would attend the G-20. India’s Ministry of External Affairs declined to comment.
Any absence would mark the first time Xi has skipped a G-20 summit since taking power, raising more questions about China’s global clout as its economy slows. Earlier this year, Qin Gang was mysteriously removed as China’s foreign minister following a one-month disappearance.
While Xi has spent only six days out of the country so far this year, last week he attended the BRICS summit in South Africa and met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two leaders held a conversation about a longstanding border dispute, which erupted in 2020 with the worst armed clashes in four decades.
China and India have sparred on a number of issues as both nations vie for leadership of the Global South. India has also discouraged its companies from doing business with its neighbor, banning some Chinese mobile phone applications while also seeking to attract manufacturers looking to shift operations away from China as economic tensions rise with the US.
Perceptions of China abroad are souring largely because of its foreign policy decisions, according to a survey released in July from the Pew Research Center, which also found a lack of confidence in Xi. Majorities in 15 of the 24 nations surveyed held an unfavorable opinion of China, with negative ratings at record highs in 10 of them.
–With assistance from Jing Li and Allen Wan.
(Updates with Chinese Foreign Ministry comment.)
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