Daniel Whyte III, President of Gospel Light Society International, says this is a very serious development. The Church, the Nation, and the World need to pay close attention.

Consequences CD Series + Kingdom Values Book

The world’s most powerful leaders gathered in New Delhi for the year’s premier diplomatic event—the G20 summit—but China’s Xi Jinping deemed it not worth his time. His absence sends a stark signal: China is done with the established world order.

Ditching the summit marks a dramatic turn in China’s foreign policy. For the past several years, Xi has apparently sought to make China an alternative to the West. Now Xi is positioning his country as a full-on opponent—ready to align its own bloc against the United States, its partners, and the international institutions they support.

Xi’s break with the establishment has been a long time coming. His predecessors integrated China into the U.S.-led global order by joining its foundational institutions, such as the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. For much of his tenure over the past decade, Xi has kept a foot in the door to that Western order—even as China’s relations with the U.S. have deteriorated. China even participated (though grudgingly) in G20 efforts to help alleviate the debt burden on struggling low-income countries.

But over the course of his rule, Xi has grown hostile to the existing order and intent on altering it. He has focused on developing alternative institutions that Beijing could lead and control. Xi formed the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to rival Washington’s World Bank, for instance, and promoted competing international forums, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, whose membership includes Russia and Iran.

Xi is willing to hang on to some established institutions, such as the United Nations, that he thinks he can repurpose to promote his global aims. But apparently, the G20 wasn’t one of those. The Communist regime is sending Premier Li Qiang to the summit in place of Xi—a significant snub for a meeting that is supposed to be composed of top leaders.

Not surprisingly, the Chinese government has provided no explanation for Xi’s absence. But a simple rationale is easy to conjure: By skipping the G20, Xi is attempting to discredit it. The forum is filled with U.S. partners and therefore resistant to Chinese manipulation or control; moreover, it has mounted an effort to make the stewardship of global affairs more inclusive—it welcomed the African Union as a new member—and Xi likely sees it as competition for his own plans to win adherents in the global South.

In place of institutions like the G20, Xi has been pushing rivals that he thinks he can dominate or pack with friendly clients. One such forum is the BRICS group of developing countries, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Xi has been lobbying for a rapid expansion of the BRICS membership, and at the group’s August summit, in Johannesburg, he got what he wanted. Six additional countries were invited to join, including at least three (Egypt, Ethiopia, and Iran) with close political and economic ties to China. Through such expansion, the economist Hung Q. Tran argued in a recent report, China aims to “turn the BRICS group into a support organization for China’s geopolitical agenda” and a “venue for anti-US political activism.”

Xi is also planning a third Belt and Road Forum for later this year. Participants in his global infrastructure-building scheme—mainly developing nations—will be expected to dispatch high-level delegations to Beijing, rather like the tribute missions foreign states sent to honor Chinese emperors in past centuries. While other world leaders gather at the G20 summit, Xi will be hosting state visits from the presidents of Venezuela and Zambia, two countries that are highly indebted to China.

The effort to build a rival bloc comes at a time when Xi appears to be distancing himself from the West. He and his top cadres welcomed four senior U.S. officials to Beijing in less than three months; the latest was Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who dropped by in late August. But Beijing has not reciprocated by dispatching anyone to Washington during this period. The suggestion may well be that Xi is open to continued engagement with the United States only if the United States does the engaging. Now Xi won’t be at the G20 for even a handshake with President Joe Biden, let alone any more substantive discussion.

His absence will likely be counterproductive. By vacating the stage, the Chinese leader is turning it over to Biden, who can exercise his influence at the summit free of Chinese competition. Biden will have an unimpeded opportunity to schmooze Xi’s BRICS colleagues, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, along with other key players in the global South, such as Indonesian President Joko Widodo. The United States and India already issued a joint statement pledging to deepen their cooperation. Kurt Campbell, Biden’s top Asia policy aide, noted “substantial disappointment” among Indian officials that Xi was not attending, “and gratitude that we are.”

Blowing off the G20 is above all an insult to this year’s host, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose support Xi requires if he is to refashion BRICS. And to make matters worse, the gesture coincides with Beijing’s release of a new “official” map of China that has infuriated New Delhi—and a large part of the rest of Asia—by including contentious territorial claims in the South China Sea, the entire Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, other disputed lands on the Indian-Chinese border, and an island that the Chinese had previously agreed to share with Russia.

The map controversy suggests that Xi’s nationalist pursuit of global power could undermine his push to lead a new bloc against the West. Perhaps for that reason, a recent analysis from the research firm Capital Economics judged that BRICS was “unlikely” to become a counterweight to the United States and its major allies: “Not all countries are on board with the views of China and Russia on the West,” the report’s author argued, and “a lack of common agreement among member states will likely hold back progress in many areas and prove an impediment to the BRICS emerging as a unified bloc.”

China On ‘High Alert’ After US, Canadian Ships Transit Taiwan Strait

China said Saturday its troops were “on constant high alert” after two ships belonging to the United States and Canada transited through the Taiwan Strait, a military spokesperson said.

“The Eastern Theatre Command of China’s PLA organised naval and air forces to trail their entire course and stand alert in accordance with laws and regulations,” said Senior Colonel Shi Yi, referring to the People’s Liberation Army.

“Troops in the theatre remain on constant high alert, and will resolutely protect national sovereignty and security as well as regional peace and stability,” Shi said in a statement.

Shi said that the two ships — identified in the statement only as “Johnson” of the United States and “Ottawa” of Canada — had “openly hyped up” their passage through the waters.

Taiwan lives under constant threat of an invasion by China, which claims the self-ruled island as part of its territory to be taken back, by force if necessary.

Washington diplomatically recognises Beijing over Taipei but maintains de facto relations with democratic Taiwan and supports the island’s right to decide its own future.

The United States and Western allies have increased “freedom of navigation” crossings by naval vessels of both the Taiwan Strait and the disputed South China Sea to reinforce that both are international waterways, angering Beijing.


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