Chinese leader Xi Jinping will talk to leaders from the wealthy Group of 20 nations (G-20) via a video link, the Foreign Ministry announced on Oct. 29.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi will be in Rome for the two-day event starting on Saturday, Wang Wenbin, the spokesperson of China’s foreign ministry, said at Friday’s briefing.
While climate change and economic recovery are top agenda items, it’s unknown whether leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, will press Beijing on some tough issues, such as the regime’s human rights violations in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, which have drawn growing international criticism.
Beijing had told Washington in August that the cooperation with the Biden administration on issues such as climate change would depend on whether the U.S. could soften its policies towards Beijing.
Meanwhile, lawmakers and rights activists from the world have gathered in Rome, urging governments not to loosen their stance towards the regime in return for climate cooperation.
China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, formally submitted its climate goals on Thursday, ahead of the COP26 UN climate summit in Scotland. The document included targets previously announced by Xi but set no additional goals.
Xi had pledged that the country’s carbon emissions would peak by 2030, and reduce to zero before the year 2060.
However, China is currently battling a severe power crunch that has seen more than half of the country’s provinces enact electricity rationing measures, forcing factories to reduce production or even shut down, threatening economic growth.
As a result, the country has rushed to mine and burn more coal to stave off a prolonged energy crisis over the winter. China is the world’s largest producer and user of coal.
The world’s second-largest economy reported weak growth figures during the third quarter. Gross domestic product growth hit a year low at 4.9 percent, down 3 percent slower from the previous quarter.
These troubles underscore challenges facing Beijing as it tries to balance the need to keep a stable power supply domestically with its pledge to tackle climate change.
Analysts told The Epoch Times that Xi would give priority to curbing the power crisis as it could cause “some level of public grievances” thus threatening his grip on power.
In October or November 2022, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials will gather to hold a twice-a-decade Party congress, during which a new group of top leaders will be chosen. Xi is seeking an unprecedented third five-year term in office after becoming a paramount leader in 2012.
The Chinese leader has not been outside China for more than 20 months after finishing the last foreign trip from Burma in January 2020. He will reportedly also participate at the COP26 summit via video link next week.
The Associated Press and Frank Fang contributed to this report.