BEIJING | Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the virtual climate summit hosted this week by Joe Biden, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, as Sino-US tensions remain high.
• Read also: In the name of the climate, Biden plays the balancing act against China
The Chinese head of state will deliver “an important speech” online from Beijing, the ministry said, a few days after the two countries pledged to “cooperate” on climate change.
US President Joe Biden has invited some 40 world leaders to an international climate summit to be held by video conference on Thursday and Friday.
China and the United States are the two leading emitters of greenhouse gases, causing global warming. Their agreement is therefore considered crucial for the success of international efforts to reduce these emissions.
The two powers are still opposed on multiple subjects, Washington criticizing for example Beijing on its policy in Hong Kong, on Taiwan, on the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang (northwest China) or on trade.
But the two countries pledged on Saturday to “cooperate” on climate change, following a visit to Shanghai by US climate envoy John Kerry, who met his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua there.
Relations between Beijing and Washington had deteriorated markedly under the tenure of former US President Donald Trump. The latter had also withdrawn his country from the Paris climate agreement.
As soon as he arrived at the White House in January, Joe Biden opted for a return of the United States to this agreement.
A major consumer of coal, China is in absolute terms the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases, but also the country which invests the most in new energies.
“We cannot resolve this climate crisis without China being at the negotiating table,” Kerry said last week, on the sidelines of his trip to Shanghai.
Beijing has promised to start reducing its CO2 emissions “before 2030” and to achieve “carbon neutrality” by 2060, that is to say to absorb as much as to emit.
Chinese diplomacy mocked Washington’s reinstatement of the climate agreement last week, saying it was not “a glorious comeback”, but rather “a bad student returning to the benches. school after skipping class ”.