China will send foreign minister to G-20 in place of Xi 

Chinese President Xi Jinping will not join other world leaders at this week’s Group of 20 summit, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Monday that the country’s premier, Li Qiang, will attend the conference on Sept. 9-10 in India, according to a transcript of a press conference on the ministry’s website. Last week, reports suggested that the Chinese president wasn’t likely to attend.

“As has been announced just now, Premier Li Qiang will lead a delegation to the New Delhi G-20 Summit in India,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said, according to the transcript. “The G-20 is an important forum for international economic cooperation.”

“China has all along attached great importance to and taken an active part in G20 events,” Mao continued. “During this year’s G20 Summit, Premier Li Qiang will share China’s views and propositions on G20 cooperation, and promote greater solidarity and cooperation among G20 countries and joint response to global economic and development challenges.”

President Biden, who is attending the conference in New Delhi, said he was “disappointed” about the reports Xi would not attend Sunday. Xi and Biden met at last year’s G-20 summit in Indonesia.

“I am disappointed, but I am going to see him,” Biden told reporters.

Asked why Xi would not be attending the summit, Mao declined to answer.

“The G20 is a major forum for international economic cooperation. China has always attached great importance to and actively participated in relevant activities,” Mao told reporters at a daily briefing.

India recently overtook China as the world’s most populous nation, and the two are rivals in technology, space exploration and global trade.

The Associated Press contributed.

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