Chinese Premier Li Qiang will attend the 18th G20 Summit in Delhi this weekend, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a brief statement on its website Monday afternoon.
The announcement effectively means President Xi Jinping will not be present, as Beijing will not send its two most powerful leaders abroad at the same time, let alone to appear at the same event.
Quoting foreign ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning, the statement said, “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.” The spokesperson further said “China hopes the summit can consolidate consensus, convey confidence and promote development”.
“China has always placed high importance on and actively participated in relevant events… in attending this meeting, Premier Li Qiang will convey China’s thoughts and positions on G20 cooperation, pushing for the G20 to strengthen unity and cooperation, and working together to combat global economic and development challenges,” the spokesperson was quoted by news agency AFP.
“We are willing to work with all sides to push for the success of the G20 Leaders’ Summit, and to make active contributions to promoting stable global economic recovery and sustainable development.”
No reason was given for the absence of Mr Jinping, who will likely also skip attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and East Asia summits in Indonesia’s Jakarta later this week.
Mr Qiang will represent China on both occasions, news agency PTI reported.
Chinese state media Global Times said on X (formerly Twitter) “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.”
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: Chinese FM https://t.co/66F6Y9xeik
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) September 4, 2023
Confirmation Mr Jinping will not be at this year’s G20 Summit comes after days of speculation to that effect and shortly after a brief global row over a new “standard map” that claims Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin, as well as territory from other nations, as its own.
Mr Jinping is the second world leader to skip the summit in India; last week Russia’s Vladimir Putin conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi his inability to attend the meeting. Mr Putin told the Prime Minister he intends to send foreign minister Sergey Lavrov instead.
Speculation the Chinese president will not be in Delhi this weekend had been building up over the past week, prompting United States President Joe Biden to express disappointment.
While they will not meet in Delhi during the G20 meetings, Mr Jinping and Prime Minister Modi did speak briefly on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in South Africa last month. The PM and Xi Jinping agreed to work towards “expeditious de-escalation” along the entire Line of Actual Control.
With input from agencies