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China president ditching G20 sparks diplomatic alarm

As I’ve previously reported, China’s President Xi Jinping skipped the recent G20 summit. A move that has left political analysts and international leaders grappling to understand the larger implications. What’s evident, however, is that China’s retreat from this vital forum could reshape global diplomacy as we know it.

Beijing’s Cold Shoulder: The New Delhi Standoff

It was evident from the onset that the G20 summit in New Delhi wouldn’t be business as usual for China. The understated arrival of Li Qiang, the Chinese premier, on a chartered flight, rather than the typical “special planes” signaled the nation’s muted presence. Li’s engagement at the summit was limited, a stark contrast to the proactive diplomacy China is known for.

The key question that dominated conversations was: Why did Xi Jinping miss the summit? His absence, a first from the G20, sparked rumors. Some speculated about potential diplomatic skirmishes, while others considered domestic troubles. Neil Thomas, an expert from the Asia Society Policy Institute’s Center for China Analysis, observed that this might mark the beginning of Xi’s departure from his typically vigorous diplomacy.

Interestingly, Xi’s recent absence from the G20 summit follows his pronounced appearance at the Brics summit in Johannesburg. There, the Chinese leader not only accepted accolades but also endorsed the group’s expansion. However, even at that event, signs of his possible pullback from international forums emerged.

The growing strain in China’s relations with India likely influenced Xi’s decision to skip the G20. Beijing has accused New Delhi of fostering geopolitical competition in the G20 and disturbing the cooperative atmosphere of the summit. The China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), closely tied with Beijing’s Ministry of State Security, pointed fingers at India for hosting meetings in disputed border areas.

The East vs West Powerplay

Wang Yiwei, from Renmin University, touched upon the West’s intent to elevate India’s stature in global politics, thereby undermining China. India’s recent diplomatic moves and associations have irked China. Particularly, the nation’s collaboration with the Quad, a security grouping which includes formidable nations like the US, Japan, and Australia, hasn’t sat well with Beijing.

This year’s G20 summit had another peculiarity. It largely sidestepped pressing issues, like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, focusing instead on international economic matters. While China’s Premier Li oversees the nation’s economy, his presence at the G20 was seen as strategic. Henry Wang, from the China Center for Globalisation, suggested that the summit was an ideal platform for the new premier to acquaint himself with global leaders.

However, all isn’t bleak for China’s global engagements. Diplomatic channels buzz with anticipation for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meeting in San Francisco, where a potential Xi-Biden meeting might take place.

The Diplomatic Domino Effect

Li Qiang, as Xi’s trusted lieutenant, played his role well at the G20. But there’s no denying the overarching influence Xi commands. His sporadic appearances and potential future pullbacks from international forums could hamper Beijing’s clout on the world stage.

Thomas elaborated on this, stating that Xi’s reduced interaction with international leaders might affect his decision-making abilities, making him rely heavily on indirect diplomatic accounts. This could, in turn, make China a rigid negotiating entity, diluting the essence of global summits for all nations involved.

The crux of the matter is simple. As Xi sidelines himself from global events, the repercussions are felt beyond China’s borders. It isn’t just China that stands to lose; the entire world might have to brace for a new diplomatic order.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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