President Xi Jinping meanwhile has attended the conference virtually
China has taken President Biden’s comments in Glasgow climate summit as a chance to mock the president as “powerless,” despite the absence of President Xi Jinping from the conference.
Biden spoke at the opening of the COP26 U.N. climate summit on Monday, stressing the need for “action and solidarity” while also using the moment to “apologize” for the fact “the U.S., under the last administration,” pulled out of the Paris accord.
“I guess I shouldn’t apologize, but I do apologize for the fact that the United States under the last administration pulled out of the Paris agreement. That kind of put us behind the eight ball a bit,” Biden said.
Beijing-backed news outlet the Global Times published a piece the following day that ridiculed Biden’s “noble” apology. The report highlighted the discord between American voters, noting some comments online from “netizens” who “cannot wait until 2024 when the Republican Party, or even Donald Trump himself, apologizes for Biden’s apology.”
The report attempts to highlight the more controversial side of the climate change discussion in the U.S. and played up the differences between Biden and former President Donald Trump. Xu Liang, an associate professor at the School of International Relations of the Beijing International Studies University, claimed that such displays by American leaders showed “the declining U.S.”
Meanwhile, Xi has been absent from the Group of 20 summit in Rome and this week’s global climate talks in Scotland, drawing criticism from Biden and questions about China’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
By Peter Aitken