Chinese President Xi Jinping will speak Thursday at the global summit on climate change organized by U.S. President Joe Biden.
Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said in a written statement Wednesday that President Xi will deliver an “important speech” during the virtual conference.
Xi is among 40 world leaders invited by President Biden to attend the two-day virtual summit, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and Russian President Vladimir Putin. His acceptance comes days after John Kerry, Biden’s special envoy on climate change, held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, in Shanghai.
Xi’s appearance is his first with Biden since the latter took office in January, and comes amid increasing tensions between the two economic superpowers over a host of issues, including Beijing’s tightening control on semi-autonomous Hong Kong and its brutal treatment of ethnic Uyghur Muslims in northwestern Xinjiang province.
But the two countries have apparently found common ground on reducing climate change, as they are the world’s two biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses, which is directly linked to climate change.
The global climate summit is part of Biden’s efforts to restore U.S. leadership after his predecessor Donald Trump’s dismissive attitude towards the issue, including withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Agreement that set a cap on global carbon emissions. Biden rejoined the agreement immediately after taking office.