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Xi's no show at COP26 a big mistake: Biden

By Reena Bhardwaj
November 03, 2021 10:31 IST
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United States President Joe Biden on Tuesday (local time) was disappointed with China's President Xi Jinping for not attending the COP26 climate summit.


IMAGE: US President Joe Biden speaks during the 'Accelerating Clean Technology Innovation and Deployment' event at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, on November 2, 2021. Photograph: Evan Vucci/Pool via Reuters

Speaking at his closing press conference at the COP26 Summit, Biden expressed disappointment over with Chinese actions on climate in Rome, and also the lack of willingness for Chinese President Xi Jinping to show up at either the G20 or COP26 summit.

He said, "It was a 'big mistake' for China's President Xi Jinping not to attend COP26. The rest of the world will look to China and ask what value-added are they providing and they have lost in building influence people around the world and all the people here at COP."

Biden said that staying at home may have cost Xi some influence on the world stage.

"By showing up we've had a profound impact on the way I think the rest of the world is looking at the United States and its leadership role. I think it's been a big mistake quite frankly for China," Biden said.

Amid the tense relations between US and China, the US President also hit out at Beijing.

President Biden said that he is not concerned with the possibility of an armed conflict with China, adding that he's made clear to Chinese President Xi that this is 'competition' not 'conflict'.

"Am I worried about an armed conflict or something happening accidentally with China? No, I'm not. But as I have said before, and I think we have talked about this, I look at China, and I have spent hours of conversations with Xi, both in person when I was Vice President and since I have been President, at least five or six hours where the conversations on the telephone and I am going to be having a virtual Summit. With him. I have made it clear. This is competition. It does not have to be a conflict. I have also indicated to him. I am not reluctant to say publicly that we expect him to play by the rules of the road."

Biden also said that the US would not change its stance on several issues, including international sea lanes.

"We are not going to change our attitude towards the constitution and the national airspace, international sea lanes, etc. We also made it clear that we have to work on dealing with things like cybersecurity and a whole range of other issues," said the US President.

"I am not looking for, I don't anticipate there will be a need for physical conflict, but you know, as you have heard me say this before, my dad had an expression, 'The only conflict worse than one that's intended, is one that's unintended'," Biden added.

Asked about China, Russia and Saudi Arabia not attending the COP26 Summit in person, Biden said that it was a 'problem' but that the US doing so had 'a profound impact on the way the rest of the world is looking at the United States and its leadership role'.

Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend either major summit this week -- G20 and COP26 summits.

The given reason for Xi and Putin's absences at the summits is the ongoing COVID pandemic.

Cases are spiking in Russia, and Xi has not left China in 21 months as the virus spread across the world.

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Reena Bhardwaj
Source: ANI
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