The G20 meeting in Buenos Aires is underway. Xi Jinping, president of China, will not be attending the summit in person but will instead video-link from Beijing.
Xi’s absence is a disappointment for all of us, said Argentine President Mauricio Macri at the start of the two-day event on Friday. “But it does not diminish our commitment to work together.
China has been rocked by an economic slowdown this year and its slowing growth is expected to have a knock-on effect on other Asian economies such as Japan and South Korea who depend heavily on exports to China for their own prosperity.
The fact that the leader of the world’s second-largest economy isn’t attending in person has led to speculation, denied by China, that he is too busy dealing with the fallout from a trade war with the United States.
China sent its State Council Vice Premier Liu He to represent him at this week’s summit.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who has imposed tariffs on Chinese goods in a bid to close the US$335 billion trade deficit with China, is also not attending.
Instead, Trump will send U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House National Trade Council director Peter Navarro to represent his administration.
Trump cancelled an official trip to Latin America in order to manage the U.S.-China trade dispute, which is rapidly escalating with no end in sight.
The United States and China are currently fighting a trade war with each other in which both countries have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods that pass between them.
Trump has accused China of unfair trading practices that put American companies at a disadvantage.
China, for its part, is trying to use the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires to prop up world markets that have been rattled by the trade war.
At Friday’s opening of the summit in Argentina, Chinese officials promised to provide liquidity and improve market regulation so as to promote global economic stability.
The AIIB’s (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) Vice President Danny Alexander will also attend the summit.
According to Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, Liu and Xi may hold a meeting during the summit with Vladimir Putin, president of Russia which holds the rotating presidency of G20 this year.