Chinese President Xi to Skip India Hosted G20 Leaders Summit

Chinese President Xi to Skip India Hosted G20 Leaders Summit
Chinese President Xi Jinping

The Lede: Multiple reports on Thursday citing Chinese and Indian sources say that Chinese President Xi Jinping will not be attending the G20 leaders summit hosted in New Delhi next week. This dashes hopes that Xi could have met with U.S. President Joe Biden and suggests renewed tensions between China and India.

What We Know:

  • Reports by Reuters, the Financial Times, and Agence France-Presse say that Xi will be skipping the G20 meeting. Chinese Premier Li Qiang is expected to represent Beijing at the September 9-10 gathering.
  • There have been rumors that Xi and Biden would have taken this opportunity to meet on the sidelines of the G20 leaders summit next week.
  • Disagreement with India may play a factor in this move. Tensions flared up again when China released a new map this week that showed Beijing’s sovereignty over the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh and the disputed Aksai Chin plateau.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin also said earlier that he would not be traveling to India for the G20 and would be sending Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The Background: Biden’s attendance at the G20 in New Delhi was announced last week and was seen as a chance to meet with Xi along with being an opportunity to boost ties among Indo-Pacific allies as a counterbalance to China. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi held a conversation on the sidelines of the recent BRICS summit highlighting concerns in their ongoing border dispute. Russia and China have run into opposition at G20 ministerial meetings in the past year as other member countries run closer in line with the U.S. on many topics. The two countries have also opposed joint statements that include condemnations of Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine last year.

Likely Outcomes:

  • Xi may be eyeing a possible meeting with Biden on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit in San Francisco this November as a way to extend the time frame of preparation for both sides and to separate a meeting away from the Indian hosted summit that has a G20 specific agenda. Given the absence of this opportunity, both leaders are likely looking forward to the APEC summit as the next possible chance to convene again and continue the trend of high-level meetings in recent months.
  • This move, along with Putin’s absence, may be a reflection of the looseness of the BRICS bloc. While the organization has the potential to achieve significant feats, there remain stumbling blocks to greater solidarity. China snubbing India for this G20 meeting after releasing a controversial map of overlapping territorial claims is a clear sign that there are underlying rivalries and disputes within BRICS that will obstruct substantive progress in the bloc’s agenda in the near future.


“It is evident that Sino-Indian relations are navigating complex terrain. As for the G20 summit, the eventual outcome will serve as a barometer of the extent to which geopolitical tensions and strategic competition are impacting global economic cooperation and multilateral diplomacy.” – Farwa Aamer, director of South Asia Initiatives at the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI)

“Xi’s decision not to attend is an obvious affront to Modi’s G20 leadership but also highlights the true lack of cohesion among the Brics and undercuts the hype about the expanded Brics group.” – Daniel Price, former international economic affairs official in the George W Bush administration

“If Xi decides not to attend the G20, this could set back China’s efforts to thaw relations with India and harden New Delhi’s position on the border dispute. Xi’s absence might also make it easier for India to flex its global leadership muscles.” – Sameer Lalwani, South Asia senior expert with the US Institute of Peace.

Good Reads:

Xi Jinping’s absence challenges G20 status as global leadership forum (FT)

Biden hopes Xi Jinping will attend G20 amid reports Chinese president will skip Delhi summit (The Guardian)

China’s Xi Likely to Skip G20 Summit in India, Sources Say (VOA)

Xi Jinping won’t attend upcoming G20 meeting in New Delhi: media reports (SCMP)