Chinese President Xi Jinping not to attend G20 Summit; Premier Li Qiang to head delegation: Foreign Ministry

Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping will not attend the G20 Summit in New Delhi this week and the delegation will be led by Premier Li Qiang, the foreign ministry announced here on Monday.

At the invitation of the government of the Republic of India, Premier of the State Council Li Qiang will attend the 18th G20 Summit to be held in New Delhi, India on September 9 and 10, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said in a brief statement.

Mao did not provide any reason for President Xi’s absence from the high-profile conclave hosted by India for the first time.

China looks forward to the G20 New Delhi Summit reaching a consensus on tackling challenges in the economy and development, conveying confidence to the outside world and promoting shared prosperity and growth, Mao told reporters at a regular ministry briefing here.

President Xi is also skipping the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and East Asia summits in Jakarta this week.

Premier Li will be representing China at the ASEAN Summit in Indonesia.

At the invitation of President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, the current ASEAN chair, Premier of the State Council Li will attend the 26th China-ASEAN Summit, the 26th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia from September 5 to 8, and pay an official visit to Indonesia, another Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin announced on September 1.

Now, Premier Li is expected to travel to India after attending the East Asia summit in Jakarta. In 2021, Chinese President Xi did not travel to Italy to participate in the G20 summit due to China’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi his decision not to attend the summit in person as he has to focus on the “special military operation” in Ukraine.

The Russian president had skipped the Bali summit of G20 in November last year as well.

US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva are among the G20 leaders who have already confirmed their participation in the G20 Summit.

Meanwhile, US President Biden has said he is “disappointed” that his Chinese counterpart Xi plans to skip the upcoming G20 summit in India.

“I am disappointed… but I am going to get to see him,” Biden told reporters on Sunday but did not say when that meeting may take place.

Xi and Biden last met at the G20 summit in Indonesia last year.

US-China relations remain tense despite a flurry of diplomatic visits from Washington this year to Beijing to revive dialogue and avoid a confrontation.

The G20 member countries represent around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.

The grouping comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the European Union.

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