Xi, Putin to Attend November G-20 Summit in Bali: Indonesian President’s Adviser

By Reuters
August 20, 2022International
Xi, Putin to Attend November G-20 Summit in Bali: Indonesian President’s Adviser
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and Chinese leader Xi Jinping attend a summit in Beijing on May 15, 2017. (Lintao Zhang/Pool/Getty Images)

Chinese and Russian leaders Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin will attend November’s Group of Twenty (G-20) summit on the resort island of Bali, a longtime adviser to the Indonesian president said on Friday.

Andi Widjajanto, former cabinet secretary and unofficial adviser to President Joko Widodo, who is known as Jokowi, told Reuters the two leaders would join the summit.

“Jokowi told me that Xi and Putin are both planning to attend in Bali,” Widjajanto, who heads the National Resilience Institute, told Reuters.

On Thursday, Jokowi told Bloomberg News that both leaders had given him their assurances. Indonesian presidential officials did not respond to requests for confirmation of the report.

The Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. A Kremlin spokesperson declined to comment to Bloomberg.

The trip would be Xi’s first time outside China since January 2020, when he visited Burma (also known as Myanmar).

U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to attend the G-20 summit but the White House has not said whether he will meet Xi.

Kurt Campbell, White House Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, confirmed that Biden and Xi agreed to set up a face-to-face meeting during their last conference call in July, but that there were “no details” about the time and location for that meeting.

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council reiterated that Biden did not think Putin should attend “as he wages his war against Ukraine”. But if Putin did, Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskyy—who Indonesia has invited—should do likewise, the spokesperson said.

The Chinese regime maintains a zero-COVID policy that has all but shut its borders to international travel.

During the pandemic, Xi made his only trip outside of mainland China on June 30, visiting Hong Kong to mark the 25th anniversary of its handover from British control.

Xi is widely expected to secure a precedent-breaking third leadership term during a once-in-five-years meeting of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) scheduled for this autumn, most likely before he would head to Bali for the mid-November G-20 gathering.

No dates have been announced for the CCP meeting, but the last two took place in late October and early November.

As head of the G-20 this year, Indonesia has faced pressure from Western countries to withdraw its invitation to Putin over his country’s invasion on Ukraine, which his government calls a “special military operation.”

Jokowi has sought to position himself as mediator between the warring countries, and has in recent months travelled to meet both the Ukrainian and Russian presidents to call for an end to the war, and seek ways to ease the global food crisis.

This week, Jokowi said both countries have accepted Indonesia as a “bridge of peace.”

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