Xi To Skip G20 Delhi Summit In Unprecedented Snub At India, Just After 'Dominance' At BRICS

On Thursday what will surely be a huge blow to India's Modi and the much anticipated annual G20 summit hosted in New Delhi is being widely reported. 

For the first time, China's President Xi Jinping will not attend the Group of 20 summit, Reuters and others are reporting based on multiple diplomatic sources. This is already being anticipated as a major setback for a summit beset by unity problems and is a deeply symbolic snub given Xi's prominence at the BRICS summit in South Africa only last week.

Clearly, President Xi has downgraded the G20's importance in favor of the BRICS+ format at a moment the 'alternative to Western alignment' bloc is set to double with the admission of six new members.

Source: BRICS/Anadolu, Getty Images

Crucially, Xi hasn't missed an in-person G20 summit since he became president in 2013. FT has cited Zhang Baohui, professor at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, to point out that he "never missed a G20 meeting before because it’s a vital occasion for China to try to shape the global narrative."

"G20 offers China that platform to outcompete the American messages," Zhang added. Instead, Premier Li Qiang will represent China at the Indian capital where other heads of state will gather, including US President Joe Biden.

FT underscores that "Xi’s move to skip a gathering of G20 leaders for the first time comes after he dominated last week’s Brics summit, where he oversaw plans to expand the developing nations club that Beijing sees as a rival to US-led western groupings."

Over 20 world leaders will convene for the G20, with Xi's presence up until Thursday being so "assured" that Western headlines just within the last 48 hours were still reporting, "Biden, Xi, Erdogan among 25+ world leaders to be present at Delhi high table."

Zhang noted that Qiang being there will simply not have the same impact, and highlights recent years of severe India-China disagreements, particularly over the long-running border dispute centering on Line of Actual Control (LAC) — the somewhat ill-defined buffer which stretches more than 3,500 kilometers from Ladakh in the northwest to Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast.

There have been sporadic serious incidents going back to the two countries' deadliest encounter in modern times of June 2020. Rival military border patrols clashed in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, leaving at least 24 people - mostly Indian soldiers - dead.

Beijing has already shown G20 leaders that it's ready to throw around its significant diplomatic weight over border questions seen as vital to China's sovereignty. For example, China has already boycotted a recent G20 preliminary meeting, in May:

China has said it will not attend the upcoming G20 tourism meeting scheduled to take place in the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

China and Pakistan have both condemned India for holding the event in the Muslim-majority Kashmir, a region that has been disputed between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Just ahead of the Thursday headlines saying that Xi is set to snub the G20 annual summit in Delhi, China strongly asserted itself on border issues once again, on Monday having released the 2023 edition of its standard national map.

The map shows a key disputed area of Kashmir as being under China's control, specifically Aksai Chin and the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. This has outraged Indian diplomatic officials, who immediately lodged a "strong protest" with Beijing. And naturally, the map features Taiwan and the South China Sea as being Chinese territory. 

Multiple countries, also including the Philippines and Malaysia have rejected and publicly protested the new map's release, denying Chinese suzerainty over the contested regions.

(Article by Tyler Durden republished from Zerohedge.com)

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