China hints at Xi's participation in G20 summit after CPC Congress endorsement for record 3rd term

“China hopes the summit will play a constructive role in enhancing international cooperation against COVID-19.”

October 20, 2022 06:26 pm | Updated 06:26 pm IST - Beijing

A screen displaying an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping. File

A screen displaying an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping. File | Photo Credit: REUTERS

China on Thursday dropped a subtle hint that President Xi Jinping, who is widely expected to get endorsed by the ongoing Congress of the ruling Communist Party for a record 3rd term, will attend next month’s G20 summit in Indonesia.

Also, the Chinese Foreign Ministry flaunted the “diplomatic success” achieved under the 10-year rule of Mr. Xi, saying during his reign China has “robustly” upheld its sovereignty and security.

The once-in-a-five-year Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) being held here from October 16 is widely expected to endorse an unprecedented 3rd five-year term or perhaps a lifelong tenure in power to Mr. Xi later this week besides enhancing his powers through constitutional amendments.

Barring 69-year-old Mr. Xi, the Congress would endorse a whole set of new top-level leaders and officials, including the Premier, heralding a new administration under the Chinese President who is all set to breach the mandatory retirement for CPC leaders after 10-year tenure.

Mr. Xi, who is completing 10-year tenure this year, will be the first Chinese leader after party founder Mao Zedong to continue in power, formally ending three decades of rule followed by his predecessors to retire.

In a special media briefing here on Thursday, officials of the CPC and Foreign Ministry claimed that Chinese diplomacy has achieved “unprecedented and historic” breakthroughs during Mr. Xi’s tenure.

“We give active support to the G20 Presidency of Indonesia and support Bali summit’s theme of ‘recover stronger, recover together’,” Ma Zhaoxu, a member of the CPC Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Vice Minister, said when asked whether Mr. Xi will attend next month’s G-20 summit in Bali.

“China hopes the summit will play a constructive role in enhancing international cooperation against COVID-19, promoting world economic recovery and safeguarding global food energy security," he said.

“As far Chinese leader’s participation in the summit, we will release the relevant information in due course," he said.

Though the Congress endorsement of Mr. Xi’s continuation in power is officially projected as a done deal with officials projecting him as the “Core Leader” of the party, an official resolution on leadership is expected to be passed on October 22, the last day of the meeting.

The new set of leaders will appear before the media on October 23, according to a media advisory.

Mr. Xi’s attendance at Bali is regarded as significant as he is expected to meet U.S. President Joe Biden. It will be their first in-person meeting after Mr. Biden’s election, though the two leaders have held several virtual summits.

Mr. Xi skipped foreign travel in early 2020 after an outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan. After that, he travelled outside China for the first time last month to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit at Samarkand in Uzbekistan.

A host of world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are expected to attend the Bali summit of the G20, providing an opportunity for one-on-one meetings on its sidelines.

Mr. Ma and Shen Beili, vice minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, during their press meeting on Thursday said, “in the ten years under Xi, China has taken Chinese diplomacy to new success.” “Our achievements were all dimensional, unprecedented and historic. We have taken pioneering steps and surmounted various difficulties," Mr. Ma said.

“We have robustly upheld China’s sovereignty, security and development interests. We have faced external containment and suppression and wonton interference head-on and responded with strength," he said.

“In particular, China now has strong strategic support from neighbouring counties amid increased cooperation with other developing countries,” he said.

In the last 10 years under Mr. Xi’s rule “China’s intentional influence, appeal and power to shape has risen markedly”, he said, highlighting China’s initiatives including the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

“China and Russia enjoy a compressive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era," he said, highlighting the close ties between Mr. Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin and Beijing’s tacit backing to Moscow to its war in Ukraine.

On the ties between Beijing and Washington which steadily deteriorated since the advent of former president Donald Trump who launched a trade war against China which declined further under Biden’s Presidency, Mr. Ma said, “we have pointed the right way for China-U.S. relations guided by mutual respect, peaceful co-existence and win-win cooperation.” He also spoke about China’s aggressive resistance to enhanced U.S. support for Taiwan, including U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's August visit during which Beijing mounted a massive military drill in the Taiwan Strait for several days and fired missiles over the self-governing island.

China claims Taiwan as part of its mainland and advocates the One-China policy as the foundation for diplomatic ties with other countries.

Mr. Ma said China now has diplomatic ties with 181 countries. China weaned away more countries which had diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

For Chinese diplomacy, the CPC's leadership is the foundation and its soul, he added.

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