Xi’s G20 Absence: A Strategic Move in Global Governance?


Speculation is growing that President Xi Jinping’s expected absence from the G20 summit scheduled for Rome in October may be part of a broader strategy aimed at reshaping global governance. While official confirmation of Xi’s non-attendance at the summit has yet to be provided by the Chinese Government, many observers align this with Beijing’s increased emphasis on institutional reform and multilateralism.

An Absence Marking a Statement?


Some pundits suggest that Xi’s no-show might be a strategic move to recalibrate China’s position within the global governance system. Beijing’s policy focuses have notably shifted towards advocating for a new form of international relations, based on mutual respect and collaboration. As a result, the President’s anticipated absence from the G20 could serve as a stark reminder of China’s calls for more balanced global governance and the need for a review of the current hierarchical order.

China’s Call for Reform

China’s well-documented stance is to reengineer global governance mechanisms. Xi himself, in various speeches, has underscored the necessity to give emerging economies and developing countries a more prominent role in international decision-making. This argument comes at a time when growing discontent concerning the prevailing G7-centred model is becoming noticeable worldwide. Many argue this model is not indicative of the world’s economic and political realities, thereby requiring a comprehensive and inclusive rethink.

Emphasising Multilateralism

The Chinese government’s commitment to multilateralism, embodied in its Belt and Road Initiative, could be further accentuated by Xi’s absenteeism at the forthcoming G20 summit. By choosing not to engage in the summit, the government sends a message to the world: traditional structures of governance no longer hold sway, and alternatives that more equitably distribute influence are essential. This move advocates a new era of governance, less dependent on the actions of individual nations at singular events, and more reliant on sustained, collective actions.

Global Implications

We should not underestimate the global implications of Xi’s expected absence at the G20 summit. All eyes are now on how the Chinese government plans to promote its governance reform agenda and how other leaders, especially those from emerging economies, will respond. This development will not only shift international attention towards other multilateral platforms in which China plays a more active role but could also fuel debates concerning the need for a more equitable and democratic system of global governance.

With or Without Xi?

Regardless of Xi’s presence or absence at the G20 summit, any conversations held will carry implications for the global governance structure moving forward. However, the expected non-appearance renders a strong statement regarding the concrete steps China is willing to take in engendering a more balanced world order. Finally, this is a clear indication that, under Xi’s leadership, the country is ready to exert an influential role in reshaping the dynamics of international governance.