US President Joe Biden accused China and Russia of failing to show their leadership on climate change on Tuesday, and sharply criticized their leaders for not attending the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
Speaking at a United Nations summit aimed at crafting a new and ambitious climate deal, Biden described his presence and promised as evidence that “America is back” following the lead of his predecessor, Donald Trump.
“The fact that China is understandably trying to assert a new role in the world as a global leader – come on, you can’t see it!” Biden told reporters before leaving Glasgow.
“It’s just a big problem and they’re gone. How do you do this and do you claim to be able to drive?” Biden said.
He added, “Honestly, it was a big mistake not to show China. The rest of the world looked at China and said ‘what value do they bring?'”.
Jinping, who leads the world’s largest carbon emitter responsible for climate change, has not traveled outside China since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
Biden has been tougher with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who traveled and met the US president in Geneva in June. Russia is the fourth largest emitter in the world.
“The tundra is burning – literally, the tundra is burning,” he said. “She has serious and serious climatic problems and she is a mother who is ready to do anything.”
America is back
Biden has bolstered US climate action with his promise to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050, a sharp turnaround from climate skeptic Trump, although Biden still faces internal obstacles moving forward.
Biden said he was making good on his promise during his first international visit as president — at the G7 summit in Cornwall in June — that the United States would return to the international stage.
“Two world leaders came to me and said, ‘Thank you for your leadership,'” Biden said. “Admit you are making a huge difference here, acknowledging that his comments appear to be ‘in his interests’.”
US officials previously expected Jinping to meet Biden for the first time as president at this weekend’s G-20 summit in Rome.
Instead, the two countries said they would meet virtually by the end of the year. Biden said no date has been set.
Biden said he hopes their talks will increase predictability in a relationship strained by disagreements on a myriad of fronts, including human rights and China’s growing assertiveness over Taiwan.
“I’ll be clear. This is a competition and it doesn’t have to be a fight,” Biden said.
“As I have indicated to him – and I do not hesitate to say it publicly – we expect him to respect the rules of the road.”
Biden recently caused an uproar when he appeared to say the United States would defend Taiwan militarily if it came under attack from China, which claims an independent democracy.
The United States supplies the island with weapons, but is deliberately ambiguous about whether it will defend it.
Biden, without addressing Taiwan directly, said he did not believe there would be conflict with China, which his administration has described as the greatest challenge of the 21st century.
“I don’t expect a physical fight to be necessary,” Biden said.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by the NDTV crew and is published by a syndicated feed.)
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