Chinese President Xi Jinping to attend G20 virtual summit on COVID-19
Updated 17:26, 25-Mar-2020

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the G20 summit via video conference from Beijing on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying announced on Wednesday.

The video conference, the first of its kind in G20 summit history, will be President Xi's first international meeting since the pandemic began, China's Deputy Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said on Wednesday.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will chair the meeting aimed at advancing a coordinated global response to the outbreak and its human and economic implications. 

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G20 leaders to discuss coronavirus via video conference on Thursday

In the aftermath of the 2008 international financial crisis, leaders of the G20 major economies came together for the first time. 

Now the G20 has become a main forum for international cooperation on financial and economic issues and a primary platform for global economic governance. 

The summit will be held at a time when the pandemic rages across the world, posing a grave threat to human health and safety while fueling worries about its huge impact on the global economy. 

The leaders of G20 nations will be joined by their counterparts from some invited countries, including Spain, Jordan, Singapore and Switzerland, as well as international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Financial Stability Board, the International Labour Organization, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, G20 Saudi secretariat said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Xi's first major multilateral event since the outbreak

Ma later briefed the media on the background of the G20 and China's expectations for the summit.

Xi's attendance shows China's strong resolve to promote international cooperation on jointly fighting COVID-19, demonstrating its positive attitude toward strengthened coordination and a stable world economy under the G20 platform, Ma said.

"We are expecting G20 countries to enhance solidarity, strengthen cooperation and coordination stemming from the upcoming summit," he added. 

(Cover: A night view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. /AFP)