Pandemic, politics drive Xi’s absence from global talks

BEIJING (AP) – Chinese President Xi Jinping has been absent from the Group of 20 summit in Rome and global climate talks in Scotland.

That has drawn criticism from U.S. President Joe Biden and questions about China’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

China is the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide and has pledged to begin reducing that output by 2030 and obtain carbon neutrality by 2060. It has enforced tight travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic and Xi hasn’t left the country since early 2020.

China has also come under heavy criticism over its policies toward Muslims in its Xinjiang region and its crackdown on civil rights in Hong Kong and is eager to avoid potentially embarrassing public confrontations.