China yet to confirm President Xi’s in-person participation in G20 summit

New Delhi:┬áIndia has not yet received any confirmation on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s in-person participation at the upcoming G20 summit, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday amid reports that he is likely skip the conclave.

A majority of G20 leaders including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have already confirmed their participation at the summit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that it will not be possible for him to travel to India to participate in the summit.

In its capacity as current president of G20, India is hosting the annual summit of the influential grouping in New Delhi on September 9 and 10.

“There is no confirmation yet on the Chinese president’s in-person presence at the summit,” said one of the persons cited above.

Another person said on condition of anonymity that there is uncertainty on whether the Chinese president will attend the summit or another leader may travel to India for it.

There was no official word on the issue from the Indian side.

Asked about a report by Reuters that said Xi is likely to skip the upcoming G20 summit in India, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a media briefing in Beijing that he has nothing to offer on it now.

“On the Chinese leaders attending the G20 summit, I have nothing to offer at the moment,” Wang said.

The ties between India and China have been under severe strain since the deadly clashes in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley in June 2020.

The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over three-year standoff in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.

India has been consistently maintaining that peace and tranquillity along the LAC were key for normalisation of overall ties.

On its part, China has been arguing that the boundary question does not represent the “entirety” of the bilateral relations, insisting that the two sides should move forward on overall relations.

Modi and Xi held a conversation on August 23 on the sidelines of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit in Johannesburg.

Following the conversation, India’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra had said Modi conveyed to Xi India’s concerns on the “unresolved” issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, underlining that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in border areas was essential for normalisation of India-China ties.

Kwatra said the two leaders also agreed to direct their relevant officials to intensify efforts at “expeditious disengagement and de-escalation”.

However, the Chinese readout did not have any mention of this.

The Chinese statement said Xi conveyed to Modi that both sides should “bear in mind” the “overall interests” of the ties and “properly” handle the border issue.

On Monday China released a so-called “standard map” laying claim over Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin drawing a strong protest from India.

The “map” also showed the entire South China Sea and Taiwan as part of China as it featured in the previous editions of the ‘map’.