Chinese President Xi Jinping will take part in this weekend’s G20 leaders’ summit via video link. The foreign ministry said on Friday that Xi would deliver a speech to the gathering in Rome, where a handful of other leaders will also not be attending in person.
Xi has not left China since early 2020 when the gravity of the Covid-19 pandemic became clear. He will not be attending the UN COP26 climate summit in Scotland, which follows hard on the heels of the G20 meeting.
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Other world leaders will also be joining
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will also not be attending the G20 in person. Host Italy had hoped the summit would see all leaders meet face-to-face. US President Joe Biden has confirmed he will be there.
The G20, whose countries account for 80 percent of global carbon emissions, is considered an important stepping stone before the Glasgow climate summit, which begins on Sunday.
The G20 aims to underline that rich countries should stump up US$100 billion dollars per year to help poorer nations adapt to climate change. This goal was supposed to be achieved by 2020, according to an agreement reached in 2009, but has not been met.
Earlier, Xi was not expected to attend COP26 in person, which could indicate that the world’s biggest CO2 producer has already decided that it has no more concessions to offer at the U.N. COP26 climate summit in Scotland after three major pledges since last year, climate watchers said.
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G20 leaders will also sign off on a minimum global tax rate of 15% for big companies – a deal that was finalized earlier this month and that Italy has hailed as a major achievement of its year-long G20 presidency.
Italy has likewise said it is proud of a summit it organized in May that resulted in pledges from rich nations for hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses for poorer regions, as well as a deal to channel the International Monetary Fund emergency reserves to impoverished countries.
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“Given the international situation, I think Italy can be satisfied with its G20 presidency. But hopefully further agreements can be reached over decarbonisation,” said Antonio Villafranca, director of studies at the Italian Institute of International Policy Studies.
Reuters: Additional input by GVS