SINGAPORE: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian leader Vladimir Putin will attend the G20 summit in Bali in November, raising the prospect of a meeting with Joe Biden at a time of heightened tensions between the world’s military superpowers over Taiwan and Ukraine, reports the Financial Times.
Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo said in an interview broadcast on Bloomberg that the Chinese and Russian leaders told him they would come to the conference, setting up a potentially difficult series of meetings as governments clash over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The tense geopolitical rivalries have become a diplomatic challenge for Indonesia, which leads the G20 this year, and had cast doubt over whether Xi and Putin would attend the meeting.
“The rivalry of the big countries is indeed worrying,” said Widodo. “What we want is for this region to be stable, peaceful, so that we can build economic growth. And I think not only Indonesia Asian countries also want the same thing.”
Following the People’s Liberation Army military exercises around Taiwan this month, US business leaders have said that hopes of a de-escalation between the world’s two biggest economies hinged on a meeting between Xi and Biden to resolve their differences.
Xi has not travelled outside China since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.
Since Biden became US president in January 2021, he and Xi have held five conversations via telephone. During their most recent call last month, the Chinese president reissued a warning to Washington to not “play with fire” by supporting Taiwan.
Xi is not expected to attend an international summit before the 20th Chinese Communist party congress, when he is forecast to be reappointed as head of the party and Central Military Commission, paving the way for an unprecedented third term as president.
The congress is expected to take place in October or November, but no date has been set.