Top European leaders have left President Xi Jinping hanging over an invitation to meet him in Beijing later this year, according to the South China Morning Post, as tensions fray between Beijing and the bloc.
But later in the day, China flatly denied the report. “I don’t know what’s their source of information,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday, referencing the report. “I can tell you that is fake news.”
The newspaper, citing a person familiar with the matter, reported that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez have been invited to meet the Chinese president in Beijing this November.
The governments of France, Italy and Spain did not respond to questions on the matter, while the Chinese authorities declined to comment and the German government refused to answer, the newspaper reported. It wasn’t reported when the invitation was sent.
The Beijing huddle would coincide with the Group of Twenty summit scheduled to be held in Bali from November 15-16. It would also likely follow a major Communist Party congress in China, scheduled for the second half of this year, where Xi is set to be handed a landmark third term in office.
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