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China confirms Xi will attend Biden's climate change summit

Xinhua/Li Xueren via Getty Images

(LONDON) — Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend a U.S.-led climate change summit this week at the invitation of President Joe Biden.

Biden has invited 40 world leaders to participate in the Leaders Summit on Climate, which will be held virtually on Thursday and Friday. It’s the latest move by the Biden administration to push the United States back to the forefront of the global fight against human-caused climate change.

Xi will appear at the summit via video from Beijing on Thursday and will deliver an “important speech,” according to a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Xi’s acceptance of Biden’s invitation came after U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry traveled to Shanghai last week to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua. The pair released a joint statement over the weekend, saying their two countries “are committed to cooperating with each other” and will take “enhanced climate actions that raise ambition in the 2020s.”

Cooperation between the United States and China, the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gas, is crucial to the success of global efforts to curb climate change. But disputes over trade, human rights and other issues have threatened that partnership. In an apparent veiled remark against the United States last week, Xi said no nation should “arrogantly instruct others and interfere.”

The summit will also mark a resumption of dialogue on U.S. climate policy that came to a virtual standstill under President Donald Trump, who withdrew the country from the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change that was adopted by nearly every nation at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Biden brought the United States back into the accord earlier this year.

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