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Friday, February 3, 2023

Xi, Putin to attend Bali G20 summit: Indonesia

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 China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin plan to attend the Group of 20 summit in Bali in November, Indonesian president Joko Widodo says. Both presidents will be attending their first global summit after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and Beijing’s tension escalation with Taiwan.

“Xi Jinping will come. President Putin has also told me he will come,” Widodo, also known as Jokowi has told international media during an interview.

This is the first confirmation that both leaders will attend the summit, the BBC reported. The November summit will be much-awaited given that US President Joe Biden is also expected to attend – it’s unclear if he will meet Putin.

It would also be the first time Xi will leave China since January 2020 when the country shut its borders at the start of the Covid pandemic. Since then, he only left the mainland to mark the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China on July 1 this year.

There is possibility of a face-to-face meeting between Biden and Xi soon – ahead of the summit or on its sidelines, the BBC report added.

Relations between Washington and Beijing have soured over human rights, trade and most recently US politician Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan – the historic trip prompted China to conduct nearly a week of military drills around the self-ruled island, which it claims as part of its territory.

The US condemned the drills, which Taiwan described as a rehearsal for an invasion, as “irresponsible”.

The summit is also happening in the wake of China and Russia declaring a “no limits” strategic partnership even as much of the world condemns Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

Washington earlier called for the G20 to remove Russia’s membership and withdraw Putin’s invitation to the summit over the Ukraine war.

Indonesia, meanwhile, has positioned itself as a peacemaker between the countries.

Earlier this week, the Indonesian leader said both Russia and Ukraine had accepted his country as a “bridge of peace”.

In June, Widodo was the first Asian leader to travel to Kyiv and Moscow to meet with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and Putin. During the meetings, he called for an end to the war and solutions to the global food crisis.

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