China's next-in-line cancels meeting with Thorning-Schmidt
PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Socialdemokraterne), who is currently in China meeting with selected government officials to discuss ways the two countries can build their business and cultural partnerships, will not be meeting with Xi Jinping, China's current vice president and the country's president-to-be, after Xi cancelled their appointment.
Thorning-Schmidt’s visit to China was a gesture meant to indicate the two countries’ commitment to work together to build stronger partnerships in trade, science, technology, culture, education and other areas. But as Schmidt will now be unable to meet with China’s next leading man, the progress made through those discussions may be less than anticipated.
The Danish PM wasn’t the only political figure to receive a snub from Xi in the last week – US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Singapore's PM, Lee Hsien Loong, also had scheduled meetings cancelled.
No one is sure where Xi has gone – Chinese bloggers have offered an array of possible excuses, from a sports-induced back injury incurred to a car accident caused by rival party supporters. However, sources in both cases are shaky and neither story can be confirmed.
Xi, 59, is expected to take over for China’s current president, Hu Juntao, next month. Xi was informally announced as heir to the presidency in 2007 and has since then awaited China’s once-in-a-decade transfer of power.