Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has never skipped the annual G-20 event since he assumed office in 2012, has decided to miss the meet in New Delhi; and that too for no apparent reason. It is unusual for the Foreign Ministry in Beijing not to specify any reason for President Xi's absence from a high-profile conclave. Of course, Premier of the State Council Li Qiang will be present in New Delhi on September 9 and 10, but other countries leaders will be sceptical about Li's ability to make any commitment on any decisions taken at the summit.
India-China border dispute is not why Xi is not visiting
Journalists in India have been quick to jump to the conclusion that Xi is not coming because of the simmering tensions between the two countries at the LAC and the recent controversy over Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh. However, western analysts seem to believe that it may be because of Xis reluctance to meet US President Joe Biden in New Delhi, owing to Beijings continued support to Russia on Ukraine.
According to the New York Times, with a meeting with Xi in New Delhi off the radar, Bidens next chance to meet the Chinese leader may not come until November at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco. Theres no guarantee that Xi will attend that meeting either. All this is being construed as indication that China is playing hard to get, says NYT.
Biden disappointed at missed chance
Even as US President Joe Biden expressed disappointment over the decision of his Chinese counterpart, he said in a surprise statement, But I will be meeting him. "I am disappointed, but I am going to get to see him," Biden told reporters in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, when asked about indications Xi will not join the G20 summit. Biden and Xi last spoke on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, in November. But all the camaraderie literally went up in the air over the alleged Chinese spy balloons that were spotted over the US. The US had expectations that the G20 meet in India could be the next step to thaw the relationship with China.