Xi Jinping to participate in Biden's climate summit

A joint statement released after US climate envoy John Kerry visited Shanghai last week said Washington and Beijing would support implementation of the Paris Agreement and promote a successful United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow this year.
President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech via video for the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference, in Beijing. (AP)
President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech via video for the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference, in Beijing. (AP)
Published on Apr 21, 2021 10:45 AM IST
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Bloomberg |

Chinese leader Xi Jinping will participate in a climate summit organized by US President Joe Biden, a sign that climate issues are one area the two countries can cooperate on amid frosty ties.

Xi accepted Biden’s invitation and will attend via video link on Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

Washington and Beijing are at odds over a range of issues, from allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang and China’s tightening political grip over Hong Kong to US efforts to curb China’s role in supply chains. Xi used a speech Tuesday to the Boao Forum on Asia to challenge Washington’s global leadership, saying the world needed “justice, not hegemony.”

Still, the two nations have shown they’re eager to work together to tackle climate change. A joint statement released after US climate envoy John Kerry visited Shanghai last week said Washington and Beijing would support implementation of the Paris Agreement and promote a successful United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow this year.

“China maintains an open attitude when it comes to climate cooperation and welcomes dialogue,” said Zhang Monan, senior fellow at the US-Europe Institute at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a think tank in Beijing.

“However, if countries continue to pressure China or adopt confrontational and non-cooperative tactics, then China will address this with corresponding actions,” she said.

Xi met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron last week for a virtual climate conference. The European leaders welcomed his renewed commitment for China to achieve CO2 neutrality by 2060, a spokeswoman for Merkel said, and the three also discussed the coronavirus pandemic and global vaccine supplies.

Washington dropped out of the Paris climate accord under the Trump administration, and China has been critical of the move. During Kerry’s visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the US is to blame for delaying the agreement’s progress.

The US is preparing to host 40 world leaders at the summit on Thursday and Friday. The virtual conference will bring together 17 countries responsible for 80% of global emissions and gross domestic product, the White House said.

Biden will pledge to cut US greenhouse-gas emissions by at least half by the end of the decade, the Washington Post reported, citing two people briefed on the plan.

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