French President Macron spoils Emperor Xi’s coronation show
Beijing was engaged in hectic diplomacy pre-20th party congress to ensure that top global leaders pay a state visit to China to greet Xi Jinping on his re-election as President for the third time. French President Macron has declined the invite but German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will be in court of President Xi next week.
Even before the Communist Party of China went through the elaborate formality of electing Xi Jinping as President for the third term, Beijing was engaged in hectic diplomacy post October party congress to ensure that the world hailed the re-election of the paramount leader.
As part of this exercise, Chinese ambassadors were asked to secure congratulatory messages from the leaders of the countries to which they were posted, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s task was to invite global leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron and German President Olaf Scholz to the court of President Xi before they attended the G-20 Bali summit on November 15-16. Minor tributary states like Pakistan, Vietnam and Tanzania were also invited to greet the leader of the Middle Kingdom, as Imperial China described itself, the civilized center of the world. According to top diplomats, this invitation exercise began at least two months before the coronation of Emperor Xi post conclusion of the party congress on October 22.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected to land in Beijing on November 3-4 with a huge trade delegation to continue with the pro-China trade policies of his predecessor Angela Merkel. Germany has chosen to ignore the advice to decouple with China and the latter through COCSO is investing billions into a container terminal at Hamburg, the largest port city in north Germany.
French President Macron, however, has declined the invite albeit the pressure is still on. It is understood that Foreign Minister Wang Yi has made several calls to the diplomatic advisor to the French President to ensure the visit, but President Macron is just not interested to play ball and behave like a tributary state of China. Diplomatic sources say that the invite to Beijing was specifically before the G-20 summit so that the world recognized the anointment of President Xi.
Just as his predecessor Imran Khan landed for the inauguration of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February 2022, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan will be paying obeisance to President Xi on November 1. The Chinese spokesman said that Sharif was among the first foreign leaders to visit China upon invitation after the successful conclusion of the 20th CPC Congress, which speaks to the special friendship and strategic mutual trust between the two countries.
Nguyen Phu Trong, head of the Vietnamese Communist Party, will be the first leader to greet President Xi when he arrives in Beijing on October 30 and stays till November 2. The Vietnamese leader was among the communist states of North Korea, Cuba, Laos and Cambodia, who dispatched instant congratulations to the paramount leader on his re-election.
Apart from the client states of Pakistan and Vietnam, the President of Tanzania Samia Suluhu Hassan will also pay a state visit to China from November 2 to 4 at the invitation of President Xi. China has invested some USD 2.1 billion in Tanzania for the development of power sector and other infra projects.
According to a former foreign secretary, the entire exercise is part of a plan to project President Xi as a top global leader of a country that may soon overtake the US as the dominant power. It is also to showcase the Middle Kingdom as the new power destination. Move over Washington.