Will Xi take part in COP26? China says: wait for announcement

LONDON (Reuters) – China attaches great importance to fighting climate change, but an announcement of whether or not President Xi Jinping will attend the COP26 summit, China’s special envoy to climate change Xie Zhenhua said Tuesday.

When asked by Reuters whether or not Xi would attend the COP26 conference in person or by video call, Xie said, “We have yet to wait for the information (from) the State Department and only after they make an announcement will we say to you.”

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth said last week she was irritated by world leaders talking about climate change but not doing anything about global warming, adding it was still unclear who would be attending the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to host the summit, saw the meeting as one of the last great opportunities to cool the planet and had hoped it would demonstrate his attempt at global leadership.

Biden and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will attend the summit. The Kremlin has not yet announced whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend.

Xi, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, has not left the People’s Republic since the coronavirus pandemic began, despite participating in video calls with global leaders.

Xie said via a video link through a translator that the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow was of great importance and that the People’s Republic was working to make the conference a success.

Xie said China wants to work with the international community to slow climate change and that the world’s second largest economy will do its best to be carbon neutral by 2060.

Developed countries, Xie said, should keep their promises.

Zhao Yingmin, vice minister for ecology and the environment, said COP26 leaders should avoid “empty slogans” and Beijing hoped for progress on climate issues for developing countries.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Alistair Smout and Kate Holton)

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