China’s Xi set to snub G20, dashing chance of Biden meeting: reports

Chinese President Xi Jinping will likely skip next week’s summit of G20 leaders in India, according to multiple reports, a development that would sink the chances of him meeting with President Biden.

Biden’s trip to New Delhi, announced last week, had been seen as another opportunity to increase collaboration between Indo-Pacific allies, which could act as a counterbalance to China.

The president said he is still hopeful Xi will attend the summit.

“The answer is: I hope he attends,” Biden said Thursday.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed last Tuesday that Biden would attend the summit, set for Sept. 7-10, and attend various meetings with leaders, but did not disclose which ones.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden and the other world leaders would discuss a wide range of topics, including climate change, the global economy, the war in Ukraine and poverty.

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Biden and Xi last met at last year’s G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, and a potential meeting between the two leaders this year was seen as a chance to mend a deteriorating relationship caused by trade and geopolitical tensions.

Other top officials have been traveling to China in a bid to help alleviate tensions.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo recently met with her Chinese counterpart, the People’s Republic of China Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao, to discuss export controls, which have frustrated Chinese officials.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled in June to China, where he met with two top foreign policy officials and Xi himself.

Tense relations with India could fuel Xi Jinping’s decision

Chinese President Xi Jinping gestures as he meets with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Monday, June 19, 2023. (Leah Millis/Pool Photo via AP)

Xi’s decision could be characterized as a shot at India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, experts told Reuters.

India and China have been involved in a three-year standoff over the two countries’ shared border, and tensions only escalated this week after Malaysia joined India in protesting a new Chinese map that claims India’s territory and Malaysia’s maritime areas near Borneo.

However, just last week, Xi and Modi agreed to step up deescalation efforts at the disputed border, bringing home thousands of troops deployed there in the process, according to an Indian Foreign Ministry official.

India boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the world at a time when China’s has slowed.

Biden’s next opportunity to engage with Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Biden

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Biden are seen during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, June 22, 2023. (Greg Nash)

Biden’s trip to India will also be his latest effort to engage with Modi, following an official state visit at the White House in June. The visit was controversial because of Modi’s human rights record.

A handful of Democrats boycotted Modi’s address to a joint session of Congress and pushed Biden to make human rights a focus during their meetings. But Modi pushed back on those criticisms during a press conference with Biden.

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Biden reportedly discussed democratic values with Modi during their meeting in the Oval Office, and the president stressed that the United States’s relationship with India is “more dynamic than at any time in history.”

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