In a significant development with potential far-reaching implications, Chinese President Xi Jinping has decided not to attend the upcoming G20 summit scheduled to take place in New Delhi on September 9-10. Instead, Premier Li Qiang will represent China, as announced by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
While the ministry’s spokesperson, Mao Ning, did not provide specific reasons for Xi’s absence, he emphasized China’s commitment to the G20’s goals of global economic cooperation. Mao also underscored China’s support for India in hosting this year’s summit, despite ongoing bilateral tensions.
China expressed its readiness to collaborate with all participating nations “to jointly promote the success of the G20” and contribute positively to global economic stability and sustainable development, as reported by the Associated Press.
This development occurs against the backdrop of heightened friction between India and China. The border dispute in the Ladakh region escalated into a military standoff three years ago, resulting in casualties on both sides. Subsequently, both nations bolstered their military presence along the Line of Actual Control, deploying artillery, tanks, and fighter jets.
China has been closely observing India’s strengthening strategic partnership with the United States, its primary geopolitical rival. Tensions have manifested through mutual expulsions of journalists and escalating trade disputes. India’s recent demographic milestone, surpassing China as the world’s most populous nation, has added a competitive dimension in technology, space exploration, and global trade.
Additionally, Russian President Vladimir Putin will also be absent from the G20 summit, though the Kremlin clarified that there was no coordination between Russia and China regarding their non-attendance, according to TASS.
For India, Xi Jinping’s decision to skip the G20 Summit could be perceived as a diplomatic setback, particularly since leaders from other major countries have confirmed their participation. The G20 Summit serves as a crucial platform for economic cooperation, with member countries representing a significant share of global GDP and trade.
Moreover, China’s deepening relations with Pakistan, India’s longstanding rival, and its stance on the disputed Kashmir region add further complexity to the geopolitical landscape.
Xi Jinping’s absence from the G20 Summit in New Delhi may introduce another layer of complexity to the already strained relations between India and China. It has the potential to influence future dialogues and negotiations, particularly regarding border issues and global economic collaborations between the two Asian giants.