Biden disappointed as Chinese, Russian presidents skip G20 summit in India

ISLAMABAD   -  The G20 meet will be held in India’s national capital Delhi this week. Chi­nese President Xi Jinping will not be attending the meet while Russian President Vladimir Putin will also not attend the meeting. US Pres­ident Joe Biden has said he is “dis­appointed” that his Chinese coun­terpart Xi Jinping plans to skip the upcoming G20 summit in India.

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

Beijing said on Monday that its premier Li Qiang would lead Chi­na’s delegation at the summit in Delhi this week. Mr Xi and Mr Biden last met at the G20 summit in Indo­nesia last year.

US-China ties remain tense de­spite a flurry of diplomatic visits from Washington this year to re­vive dialogue. China’s foreign minis­try neither confirmed nor denied Mr Xi’s attendance at the Delhi summit when asked pointedly at Monday’s press briefing.

“Li Qiang will lead Chinese delega­tion to attend G20 summit. It’s a ma­jor and important global econom­ic forum. China has always attached importance on it and actively partic­ipated related events,” a foreign min­istry spokeswoman said. 

But news reports, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said last week that Mr Xi does not plan to attend. The news comes amid wors­ening relations between China and India. Among other things, the two countries are facing off against each other along their disputed border in the Himalayan region. 0

Just last week, India protest­ed after Beijing released a map that claims the state of Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin pla­teau as Chinese territory.

Mr Xi and Mr Biden may still have an opportunity to speak in Novem­ber, at a meeting among leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Coopera­tion in San Francisco.

About two months after the two leaders met in the Indonesian island of Bali last November, an alleged Chi­nese spy balloon in skies above the US punctured hopes for a re-set in bilateral relations, delaying efforts to kickstart dialogue by months.

The two countries disagree over a range of issues - Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, human rights in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, territorial claims to Taiwan and the South China Sea, and economic restrictions that lim­it Beijing’s access to high-tech com­ponents. 

In an attempt to improve ties, a se­ries of top US officials have travelled to China in recent months. They in­clude Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and US Special Envoy for Cli­mate John Kerry.

Meanwhile, Mr Xi continues to portray Beijing as a leader of the de­veloping world, rallying support for an alternative to the Washington-led world order.

In a visit to South Africa last month to meet with leaders of the Brics na­tions, he criticised the West’s “he­gemony” and urged developing na­tions to “[shake] off the yoke of colonialism” in his speeches.

The Brics originally refers to five-nation club of developing coun­tries, including Brazil, Russia, In­dia, China and South Africa. Six new countries - Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and the Unit­ed Arab Emirates - are set to join in January, in what’s widely seen as a diplomatic win for Beijing.

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