Rabuka, wearing a blood-spattered shirt and a small bandage on his head, announced Tuesday that he had fallen down some stairs and would call off the visit.
“I do not know whether my head is hurt more than the door or the door is hurt more than my head,” he said in the video. “I’m sure there will be other invitations later on, and I hope I will be able to honor that invitation.”
Rabuka said he had an appointment Friday to review the injury and change the dressing, which clashed with events scheduled in China.
He had planned to attend the opening of the World University Games in Chengdu, where he would have met President Xi Jinping. The visit would have occurred as Beijing increasingly asserts its dominance in the region amid heightened Beijing-Washington tensions.
While Beijing and Washington are competing for influence in the Pacific, Rabuka, who was elected in December, has demonstrated more skepticism toward Beijing than some of his predecessors.
He ended a decadelong policing agreement with China at the beginning of the year and moved to sign agreements with U.S. allies, including Australia and New Zealand.
Rabuka also declined to meet with Chinese Vice Foreign Affairs Minister Ma Zhaoxu while Ma was visiting Fiji in April.
China has meanwhile made gains elsewhere in the region, signing a deal on police cooperation with the Solomon Islands on July 14 while its prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, was visiting Beijing.
In an interview with the Fijian news outlet FBC News, Rabuka said that Fiji is not trying to distance itself from China but that it needs to ensure “those who are cooperating with us have our same values.”
The Chinese Embassy in Fiji said on Twitter that its ambassador, Zhou Jian, wished Rabuka “a speedy recovery” and was “willing to invite him to visit China at mutual convenience.”