Xi's reluctance to head overseas leads to speculation on his health conditions

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Photo Credit - Reuters)
Chinese President Xi Jinping (Photo Credit - Reuters)

Beijing [China], September 19 (ANI): China's President Xi Jinping's reluctance to head overseas has led to speculation on his health conditions as well as can create diplomatic consequences for Beijing.

Xi has not moved out of his country for the last 600 days now. He last went on a trip to Myanmar on January 18, 2020. This year he has attended more than a dozen meetings virtually, reported The Singapore Post.

Recently, on September 09, 2021, he virtually attended a summit of leaders from BRICS nations. Besides, he has also had 60 telephonic calls with world leaders, including calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

These events have led to speculation on the Chinese President's health condition which is probably not allowing him to travel abroad and attend a face to face meetings, reported The Singapore Post.

In the past as well, there have been instances of meetings getting cancelled and speeches getting delayed owing to the ill health of the Chinese President.

In September 2012, meetings with visiting US Secretary of State, Danish Prime Minister and Singapore's Prime Minister were cancelled without explanations. The exact reasons for the absence were never explained, reported The Singapore Post.

The next known episode was when he visited Italy, Monaco and France in March 2019. He appeared to walk with a slight limp while inspecting the guard of honour and while visiting local sites.

He was also seen taking support of a chair as he sat down while meeting President Macron.

During a speech in Shenzhen in mid-October 2020, Xi suffered a coughing spree while speaking prompting the media to speculate on the health of the leader. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam had sat a noticeable distance away, reported The Singapore Post.

This led to speculation if either of them was social distancing given COVID situations. The occasion was a conference marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone.

Originally slated for 10 am, his remarks were delayed and he did not begin until much later. During the one-hour speech, Xi spoke very slowly, frequently paused to drink water and coughed on several occasions, as he struggled to utter certain words.

Moreover, his reluctance to head overseas could start having diplomatic consequences for China because it eliminates the possibility of face-to-face meetings that can help ease tensions between China and affected parties, reported The Singapore Post.

The recent observations indicate that Xi Jinping does not meet foreign leaders in person. No foreign head is visiting China which mandates Xi meeting him. If at all foreign ministers are visiting, they visit cities other than Beijing which does not necessitate Xi meeting them. His presence at the G20 meeting scheduled to be held in October 2021 in Rome has not been confirmed yet, reported The Singapore Post. (ANI)