After no-shows, Xi Jinping back to business, to meet Danish PM
Vice-president to make first public appearance after setting rumour mill alight by cancelling meeting with Hillary Clinton
Vice-President Xi Jinping will meet the Danish prime minister on Monday, his first appearance since pulling out of a meeting with Hillary Rodham Clinton this week.
His withdrawal from that and another meeting with a visiting official led to speculation about the reason for the no-shows.
The government-backed All-China Journalists Association told Hong Kong media by text message that Xi would receive Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
Usually such announcements by the association do not disclose which Chinese officials the foreign leaders will meet. But yesterday saw a break with form, as journalists were told of the parties involved.
Although the brief message simply invited the Hong Kong press to apply to cover the meeting, it was taken as a tacit attempt to dismiss rumours about why Xi had cancelled Wednesday's meeting with the US secretary of state and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
US officials were informed by the Chinese side late on Tuesday night that the meeting between Xi and Clinton would not take place.
The move prompted rumours that Xi called off the high-profile meeting as Beijing is unhappy with Washington's military "pivot" towards the Asia-Pacific region.
Another possible explanation for the cancellation was that Xi had suffered a back injury. A state media source in Beijing told the South China Morning Post that Xi had strained a muscle during a soccer match with staff at Beijing's Zhongnanhai compound - the headquarters of the Communist Party. The Tokyo-based Yomiuri Shimbun reported he was injured while swimming.
US Ambassador to China Gary Locke said in a meeting with embassy staff on Wednesday that Clinton had scheduled a four-hour meeting on Tuesday night with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi after arriving in Beijing.
Beijing has said the cancellation of the meetings was a "normal itinerary adjustment".
The foreign minister urged people not to make "unnecessary speculations".