Reports suggest that Chinese President Xi Jinping is poised to abstain from participating in the imminent G20 summit of global leaders in India next week. If so, such a course of action would effectively diminish the prospects of a potential encounter between Xi and President Joe Biden.
Expressing optimism, the president conveyed his continued hope for Xi’s participation in the summit, as reported by Reuters.
“I hope he attends,” Biden said Thursday.
The Hill stated that in a development announced the previous week, Biden’s forthcoming journey to New Delhi has been interpreted as a strategic opportunity to enhance collaboration among allies within the Indo-Pacific sphere, potentially presenting a counterweight to China’s regional influence.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan recently corroborated that Biden’s presence at the summit, scheduled Sept. 7-10, is confirmed. The president is expected to engage in a series of meetings with various leaders, although the specific details of these engagements have yet to be disclosed, according to The Hill.
Recently, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo engaged in a dialogue with Wang Wentao, the Minister of Commerce for the People’s Republic of China. The focal point of their talks was export controls, which has been a source of frustration for Chinese authorities.
In a separate diplomatic endeavor, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken undertook a journey to China in June. During his visit, he talked with two high-ranking foreign policy officials and met with Xi.
At the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, last year, Biden and Xi convened for their most recent face-to-face interaction. The potential for their reunion this year had been perceived as a valuable occasion to mend the fraying ties, adversely affected by trade imbalances and geopolitical disputes.
Nevertheless, Xi’s decision to forgo attendance could be construed as a veiled statement aimed at India and its prime minister, Narendra Modi, according to insights shared by experts with Reuters.
India and China have remained entangled in a prolonged standoff concerning their mutual border for three years. Recent tensions have surged further, catalyzed by Malaysia’s alignment with India in protesting a Chinese cartographic representation that lays claim to India’s land and Malaysia’s maritime regions proximate to Borneo, according to The Hill.
Despite this backdrop, one week ago Xi and Modi found common ground to intensify endeavors to temper hostilities along the contested border. An official from India’s Foreign Ministry said that this concurrence led to the withdrawal of a substantial number of troops stationed in the disputed region, reported The Hill.
Biden’s upcoming journey to India will serve as his latest attempt to foster a connection with Modi, extending from an official state visit hosted at the White House this past June. The visit stirred debate due to concerns about Modi’s human rights history.
As per reports, Biden’s dialogue with Modi in the Oval Office encompassed discussions on democratic values. The president emphasized that the bond between the United States and India is “more dynamic than at any time in history.”
A select group of Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., abstained from attending Modi’s address to a joint session of Congress, advocating for Biden to prioritize human rights in their discussions. However, according to The Hill, Modi countered these criticisms during a joint press conference with Biden.
“A joint address is among the most prestigious invitations and honors the United States Congress can extend. We should not do so for individuals with deeply troubling human rights records — particularly for individuals whom our own State Department has concluded are engaged in systematic human rights abuses of religious minorities and caste-oppressed communities,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Jim Thomas ✉
Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.
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