China's leader-in-waiting skips meetings, sparks rumours
BEIJING (AFP) - China's likely next leader on Monday cancelled a scheduled meeting with Denmark's visiting prime minister, fuelling speculation about his whereabouts after he also failed to meet Hillary Clinton last week.
The incident came at a highly sensitive time with China's communist leaders preparing to hand over to a new generation, expected to be headed by Vice-President Xi Jinping, at a congress due to take place in the coming weeks.
China's foreign ministry had flagged a meeting between Mr Xi and Denmark's Helle Thorning-Schmidt to the media last Wednesday - the same day Mr Xi cancelled talks with the visiting US secretary of state, Singapore's prime minister and a Russian official.
But the Monday meeting scheduled at 4pm did not take place and Denmark's embassy in Beijing said there were no plans for the pair to get together during Thorning-Schmidt's visit.