Analysis from the China Understanding: Signs point to war – Why Xi is turning his back on the G20.
Xi Jinping’s unexpected cancellation of the G20 summit in New Delhi leaves the international community puzzled. The real reasons for this diplomatic maneuver are complex. There are three central reasons behind Xi’s rejection.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s decision not to attend this year’s G20 summit in New Delhi, India, has caused astonishment in many quarters. In the past, the People’s Republic has viewed this forum, at which representatives of the leading and emerging economic nations, which together bring around 80 percent of global economic output, to the table, as an important and relatively neutral event. Officials of China’s one-party state gave no reason for Xi’s non-participation.
Observers believe there are three reasons for the cancellation, which are interrelated and point in a direction that, once again, calls for caution against an increasingly aggressive Beijing.
Chinese economy in decline
1. The Chinese economy is in decline. Under Xi’s rule, “security” is the top priority, rather than the economic “reforms” that were the number one keyword under his predecessors. For Xi Jinping, security means all-encompassing control over China and its people, through himself and through surveillance by the Communist Party. Xi does not stop at the borders of his empire, but increasingly tries to exercise power in Asia and conquer territory for the People’s Republic by arming and increasing the size of the army.
Alexander Görlach is honorary professor of ethics at Leuphana University in Lüneburg and senior fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York. After a stay in Taiwan and Hong Kong, he focused on the rise of China and what it means for democracies in East Asia in particular. From 2009 to 2015, Alexander Görlach was also the publisher and editor-in-chief of the debate magazine The European, which he founded. Today he is a columnist and author for various media. He lives in New York and Berlin.
2. As a result, relations with India have also eroded. In order to gain access to the meltwater of the Himalayas, Xi wants to conquer parts of Indian territory. There have been isolated exchanges of fire and skirmishes in the recent past in which soldiers on both sides died. Shortly before the G20 summit, official Chinese maps identified this Indian territory as Chinese for the first time.
In this situation, Xi’s absence in India is probably intended to underline the leader’s determination to annex this mountain range. India, like all countries in Asia, has strengthened its alliance with the United States of America due to the increasing threat from China. In addition to India, the ruler of Beijing also threatens Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Australia.
Xi does not want to position himself as a peaceful and reliable country
3. The G20 is a multilateral forum and therefore stands for a world order in which it is not just the USA that has the say, as Xi repeatedly accuses Washington of. His absence, which is intended to mean nothing other than that Xi is not important enough for the Chinese leader to attend, shows where Beijing is actually heading: away from a rules-based, reliable order, towards a world in which China has previously created Chaos is to be guided along new paths set by Beijing through the law of the strongest.
Xi’s new axis of evil, which extends from Moscow, to Pyongyang and Tehran, illustrates this. China’s demand for the expansion of the BRICS states to include Iran, Beijing’s support for Putin’s war of aggression all prove that the Chinese leader is not interested in to position his country as a peaceful and reliable one in the world.
Red Alert: How China’s aggressive foreign policy in the Pacific is leading to global war
Over the past decade, Beijing has invested more and more in its military while at the same time always suggesting to the world that the People’s Republic is striving for a peaceful rise. In Berlin and other capitals, this fairy tale was believed too readily. But the signs are now pointing to war, which Xi is all the more likely to initiate, the more the Chinese economy will not be able to recover due to Xi’s radicalization.
Xi has transformed his country into an ethno-nationalist one in which his own Han race is the superior one, and other ethnic groups at home and all abroad are enemies. Anyone who looks at the world like that cannot show themselves in a photo on an equal footing with 19 other heads of states. Beijing is now sending this message more and more blatantly.