Pandemic, politics drive Xi’s absence from global talks | World

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BEIJING (AP) — This week’s global climate talks in Scotland and the recent G-20 summit in Rome aren’t the only international meetings that China’s leader has not attended in person. Xi Jinping hasn’t left China in nearly 22 months, since January 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic first exploded.

His absence drew criticism from U.S. President Joe Biden and questions about China’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. China, the world’s biggest emitter, has pledged to begin reducing its output by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2060. The U.S. and others have urged China to advance those goals, but it has balked so far.

“We made our promises and we honor our promises with actions,” China climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said in Glasgow, blaming America’s now-reversed withdrawal from the Paris climate accord under…

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