It is almost certain that Chinese President Xi Jinping is going to skip the G20 summit in India next week and Premier Li Qiang is set to represent China at the conclave, people familiar with the development said on September 2.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has already conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi his decision to not attend the summit in-person as he has to focus on the “special military operation” in Ukraine.
The Russian president had skipped the Bali summit of G20 in November last year as well.
Many leaders in the past skipped the G20 summits for various reasons and it does not reflect anything about the host country, the people cited above said.
In its capacity as the current president of G20, India is hosting the annual summit of the influential grouping in New Delhi on September 9 and 10.
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“The Chinese President is not travelling to India for the G20 Summit,” said one of the people cited above, adding that Premier Li is likely to represent China at the Summit.
President Xi is also skipping the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and East Asia summits in Jakarta next week.
“There are some media reports that some heads of state may skip the G20 Summit in India,” the person said.
“These things do not reflect anything about the host country,” he added.
Premier Li is likely to travel to India after attending the East Asia summit in Jakarta. In 2021, Chinese President Xi did not travel to Italy to participate in the G20 summit due to China’s COVID-19 restrictions.
From 2008, there were 16 physical summits of the G20, and one virtual summit (Saudi Arabia, 2020). There were two summits each in 2009 and 2010.
Out of these 16 physical summits, except the first three summits in 2008 and 2009, there has never been a single occasion from 2010 till now when every country has attended at the Heads of State (HOS) or Heads of Government (HOG) level, the people cited above said.
“The level of attendance at global summits varies from year to year. In today’s world with so many demands on the leaders’ time, it is not always possible for every leader to attend every summit,” said one of the sources.
The people cited above said there have been six occasions – 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017 – in G20 summits when the representation was below HOS/HOG-level from any one member country.
There were five occasions when the representation was below HOS/HOG-level by two countries, they said.
The G20 member countries represent around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.
The grouping comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the U.K., the U.S. and the European Union (EU).