(CTN News) – In an unexpected turn of events, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, chose to forgo a prearranged discourse at a pivotal multinational economic symposium held in South Africa on Tuesday.
Xi’s arrival in Johannesburg to attend the Brics summit occurred on Monday evening, marking only his second overseas voyage this year, the initial being his sojourn to Moscow in March.
Greeted by the South African president Cyril Ramaphosa on the airport tarmac, the occasion bore a sense of significance.
The summit’s outlined agenda slated Xi to participate in the colloquium and expound insights alongside fellow dignitaries on the subsequent day. Contrarily, the task of verbalizing his discourse was delegated to his Minister of Commerce, Wang Wentao.
Subsequently, Xi partook in the formal banquet of the summit; however, an inexplicable rationale was absent for his conspicuous absence from the oral presentation.
The circumstances indicate an eleventh-hour determination, as publications within China’s official media outlets and digital communications from the spokesperson of China’s foreign ministry disseminated as though Xi himself had personally conveyed the message.
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Intriguing speculations arose among China observers, pondering the potential presence of something “amiss” or a transient ailment affecting Xi, yet the prospect of a disclosure remains improbable.
Bill Bishop, the author behind Sinocism, a widely embraced bulletin covering matters pertinent to China, astutely observed a prolonged span during this month characterized by Xi’s absence from any public engagements, an occurrence deemed “somewhat peculiar.”
“This abrupt choice to abstain from the economic symposium only amplifies the peculiarity. In the face of an information void stemming from the People’s Republic of China apparatus, conjectures are destined to take flight,” Bishop stated.
The China Global South Project duly recognized that this marked the second instance of an enigmatic absence involving a Chinese official, following the prior unexplained nonappearance of the former foreign minister Qin Gang.
Who has remained veiled from the public eye for several months and similarly omitted attendance at the preceding month’s foreign ministers’ Brics assembly.
“To term Xi’s nonattendance as extraordinary would be an understatement, as the meticulously orchestrated nature of events in which Chinese leaders partake rarely accommodates such deviations,” the project asserted.
Brics Summit 2023: Subtle Critiques and Aspirations Amidst Diverse Perspectives
The discourse, eloquently delivered by Wang, bore the subtlety of veiled critiques directed towards the United States, characterizing an undisclosed nation as “obsessed with perpetuating hegemony” and purposefully engaging in actions to debilitate burgeoning markets and nations in developmental stages.
“Whichever entity forges ahead initially becomes the subject of containment, while those in pursuit are met with deliberate obstructions,” articulated Wang on behalf of Xi.
The assembly of Brics nations – encompassing Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – collectively accounts for approximately 40% of the global populace and a quarter of the world’s total economic output.
Notably, the heads of state from all member countries, except Vladimir Putin, attended in person, as the Russian leader grapples with an outstanding international criminal court-issued arrest warrant on charges of war crimes.
Besides the main members, the summit welcomed representatives from numerous other nations, a testament to the contemplation of expanding the group’s membership.
Amongst the members, certain factions, notably China, harbor aspirations of bolstering Brics as a counterbalance to Western alliances such as the G7 or G20. Nevertheless, divisions linger within the group.
Just yesterday, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil clarified that the consortium’s intent does not revolve around rivalry with Western establishments.
Meanwhile, India’s leadership, bearing a relationship with China that often treads on discord, approaches the idea of empowering Beijing through Brics with a degree of reservation.