Chinese President Xi Jinping will participate in the online climate change summit to be hosted later this week by U.S. President Joe Biden, the nation's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, amid lingering tensions between the world's two major powers.
Xi will make a speech on the first day of the two-day virtual gathering starting Thursday, which political leaders of other countries, such as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Russian President Vladimir Putin, are also set to attend.
China, the world's biggest carbon emitter, has expressed eagerness to work in tandem with the United States, the second-largest emitter, on combating the impact of global warming despite their increasing rivalry for military and economic supremacy.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters, "China expects that this summit will provide a useful platform for global exchanges and cooperation in addressing the challenges of climate change," voicing willingness to join hands with the United States
China hopes that the United States "will truly respect China's core interests and take a correct view of China's development, while working with China to jointly safeguard regional and world peace, stability and development," Wang said.
Xi has pledged to make his nation carbon neutral by 2060 and adhere to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, which Biden's predecessor Donald Trump abandoned.
During their video conversation on Friday, Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng told U.S. climate envoy John Kerry that Beijing "welcomes the U.S. return" to the Paris accord.
Kerry, who was secretary of state under former President Barack Obama, visited Shanghai last week for talks with his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua, becoming the first high-ranking U.S. official to visit China under the Biden administration since its launch in January.
Following the talks between Kerry and Xie, Beijing and Washington said they agreed to take enhanced actions to strengthen the implementation of the Paris agreement, sidestepping their disputes including over China's alleged human rights abuses.
At an online summit with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, meanwhile, Xi said climate change issues should not be used as a political "bargaining chip" in an apparent warning aimed at the United States.