Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin will attend the G20 summit in Bali this year, raising the prospect of meeting Joe Biden at a time of heightened tensions between the world’s military superpowers over Taiwan and Ukraine.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in an interview that aired on Bloomberg that Chinese and Russian leaders told him they would come to the conference, setting up a series of potentially difficult meetings as the governments clash over the invasion of Ukraine by Putin.
Relations have also soured between Beijing and Washington in recent weeks following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan and China’s unprecedented military drills around the island. in response.
Tense geopolitical rivalries have become a diplomatic challenge for Indonesia, which leads the G20 this year, and had cast doubt on Xi and Putin’s attendance at the meeting.
“The rivalry of big countries is indeed worrying,” said the Indonesian leader, known as Jokowi. “What we want is for this region to be stable, peaceful, so that we can build economic growth. And I’m not just thinking of Indonesia: Asian countries also want the same thing.
Following People’s Liberation Army military drills around Taiwan this month, US business leaders said hopes for a de-escalation between the world’s two biggest economies hinged on a meeting between Xi and Biden to resolve their differences.
Xi’s presence in Bali would mark the Chinese leader’s first trip outside the country since the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020.
Since Biden became president of the United States 18 months ago, he and Xi have had five phone conversations. During their last call last month, the Chinese president reiterated a warning to Washington not to “play with fire” in supporting Taiwan.
But the leaders also asked their respective teams to schedule an in-person meeting, a senior US official said at the time.
Ahead of Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a G20 foreign ministers conference, where he said he expressed concerns about Beijing’s alignment with Russia. But Blinken refused to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who reportedly broke into talks with Western ministers after coming under fire over the war in Ukraine.
Xi is not expected to attend an international summit until the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China in November, when he is expected to be reappointed as head of the party and the Central Military Commission, paving the way for an unprecedented third presidential term.
The congress should take place in October or November, but no date has been set.