NEW DELHI/BEIJING, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping may skip next week’s G20 leaders’ summit in India, sources familiar with the matter in India and China told Reuters.
Two Indian officials, an ambassador based in China and an official working for the government of another G20 country, are expected to represent Beijing at the September 9-10 meeting in New Delhi.
Spokesmen for the Indian and Chinese foreign ministries did not respond to requests for comment.
According to Kyodo’s report, Li will also attend the East and Southeast Asian Leaders’ Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia on September 5-7.
The summit in India was seen as a venue for Xi to meet US President Joe Biden, who has confirmed his visit, as the two superpowers seek to stabilize ties marred by a range of trade and geopolitical tensions.
Xi last met Biden last November on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has already announced that he will not travel to New Delhi and will instead send Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
A senior government official from host India told Reuters that “we know the prime minister will come” to replace Xi.
In China, two foreign diplomats and a government official from another G20 country said Xi would not travel to the summit.
Two of the three sources in China said they had been briefed by Chinese officials but did not know why Xi was not expected.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Anticipation of a meeting between Xi and Biden has been fueled by a stream of high-level US officials visiting Beijing in recent months, including a trip by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo earlier this week.
Another summit scheduled for face-to-face talks between the two leaders is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meeting in San Francisco from November 12-18.
Xi, who was sworn in for a third term last October, has made few foreign trips since China abruptly abandoned border controls triggered by a severe pandemic this year.
However, he attended a meeting of leaders of the BRICS group of major emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in South Africa last week.
Several G20 ministerial meetings in India ahead of the summit have been contentious, as Russia and China jointly opposed joint statements that included passages condemning Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine last year.
Xi and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a rare conversation on the sidelines of the BRICS meeting in Johannesburg and discussed reducing tensions in the bilateral relationship after clashes in the Himalayan border in 2020 that killed 24 soldiers.
Reporting by Krishnan Kaushik in New Delhi and Larry Chen and Martin Quinn Pollard in Beijing; Editing by YP Rajesh, John Geddy and Raju Gopalakrishnan
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Krishnan reports on political and strategic affairs from the Indian subcontinent. He has previously worked for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, an international investigative consortium; Indian Express; And The Caravan writes on journalism, security, politics, law, corporations, media, elections and investigative programs. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, Krishnan has won several awards for his work. Contact: +918527322283
Larry Chen is a China correspondent in Reuters’ Beijing bureau, covering politics and public affairs. Before joining Reuters, he reported on China for six years at Agence France-Presse and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. She speaks Mandarin fluently.
Martin is a political and public affairs reporter based in Beijing (China). He has previously worked as a television reporter and video journalist and is fluent in Mandarin and French.