G20: China’s head of state Xi does not travel to the G20 summit

China’s head of state Xi does not travel to the G20 summit

Xi Jinping, President of China, doesn’t want to travel to the G20 summit in India himself. photo

© Gianluigi Guercia/Pool AFP/AP/dpa

Chinese President Xi Jinping is only sending a deputy to the G20 summit in India. This could cause further disputes in the already ailing relationship between the two countries.

China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping will not travel to India for the G20 summit. Premier Li Qiang will lead the Chinese delegation, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said in Beijing on Monday when asked whether President Xi would attend. The number two behind Xi represents China at the meeting of the heads of state and government of important industrialized and emerging countries. A reason why Xi will not come to the summit was not initially given. The meeting is scheduled for next weekend in New Delhi.

It is the first time a Chinese leader has canceled a G20 meeting. During the corona pandemic, Xi did not come to the G20 meeting in Rome either, but attended via video link.

This year’s host country India and China have had a strained relationship for some time. The two most populous countries in the world are fighting over an area south of Tibet and in east India respectively. China calls the region Zangnan, in India it is called Arunachal Pradesh. Both raise claims to power there and have different opinions about the course of the border in the mountains at an altitude of 4500 to 5500 meters.

Disputes for decades

Their dispute had led to a brief war in the 1960s, which China won. In the summer of 2020, soldiers from both sides attacked each other in the border region with stones, sticks and fists in what was the worst such incident in decades. Most recently, the release of an official map showing China claiming disputed land and sea areas has sparked additional displeasure from several states.

With Xi, an important head of state will be absent from the G20 summit. Some observers saw his decision as a blow to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Possible bilateral meetings with Xi on the sidelines of the summit will also be omitted, for example with US President Joe Biden. Relations between the two great powers have long been difficult due to conflicting economic interests and the geopolitical situation surrounding the war in Ukraine.

Last but not least, the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine would have been a sensitive issue for Xi at this year’s G20 meeting. The People’s Republic, led by the Communist Party, is considered an important partner country for Russia, but had already submitted a controversial proposal for a peace plan in the conflict. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, a meeting between the head of the Kremlin and Xi is planned for the near future.

However, Putin will also be absent from this year’s G20 summit in India, as was the case at the Bali summit last year. The Kremlin said he was concentrating on the special military operation, as Moscow calls the war against Ukraine. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will represent him.


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