Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang will be attending the G20 Summit in India, scheduled to take place on September 9 and 10 in the national capital, while Chinese President Xi Jinping will not be part of this event.
This marks the first time since the inaugural edition held in 2008 that no Chinese president has participated in the G20 Summit, although Xi did virtually attend in 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a Reuters report, Ven-Ti Sung, a political scientist at the Australian National University, explained that Xi had recently attended a meeting of the emerging economies’ BRICS group in South Africa just after the BRICS Summit. “Participating in the BRICS Summit just before the G20 could depict a scene of Xi ‘moving eastward, while the West is retreating,’ and it may also show unity with Russian President Putin, who is not participating,” Sung said.
On the other hand, Alfred Wu, an associate professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, believes that Xi may be reluctant to travel abroad due to a focus on domestic issues. “Xi Jinping is setting his own agenda, where his top concern is national security and keeping himself in China, inspiring foreign leaders to come to him,” Wu told Reuters.
Some analysts also see Xi’s absence from the G20 meeting as potentially indicative of China’s unwillingness to exert influence on its southern neighbor, which is one of the fastest-growing major economies, while China’s growth is slowing.
Relations between India and China have been tense for over three years since a clash between soldiers on the disputed Himalayan border in June 2020, resulting in over 24 fatalities.