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‘Big mistake’: Biden feels not attending COP26 may have cost China influence on world stage

United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he felt it was a “big mistake” on part of China to not attend the 26th Conference of the Parties or COP26 held in the United Kingdom’s Glasgow, saying the world will look to China and question what value they provided.

The US President made the remarks while speaking at his closing press conference at the COP26 Summit. In the same breath, he also accused Russia of failing to show leadership on climate change in Glasgow.

“I think it’s been a big mistake. The world will look to China & say what value-added they provided. They’ve lost the ability to influence people around the world here at COP. The same way I would argue with regard to Russia,” news agency quoted Biden as saying.

Biden opined that staying at home may have cost Chinese President Xi Jinping some influence on the world stage. On the other hand, the US, by showing up, has had a profound impact on the way the rest of the world was looking at its leadership role, the US President added.

Biden also made it clear he was not concerned with the possibility of an armed conflict with China, adding that he’s made clear to Chinese President Xi that this is “competition” not “conflict.”

“Am I worried about an armed conflict or something happening accidentally with China? No, I’m not. But as I have said before, and I think we have talked about this. I look at China, and I have spent hours of conversations with Xi, both in person when I was Vice President and since I have been President, at least five or six hours where the conversations on the telephone and I am going to be having a virtual Summit. With him. I have made it clear. This is competition. It does not have to be conflict. I have also indicated to him. I am not reluctant to say publicly that we expect him to play by the rules of the road,” ANI further quoted him as saying.

Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend either of the major summits held this week – G20 and COP26. Both leaders cited the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as the reason behind not attending the summits.

Xi Jinping has not left China in 21 months ever since the outbreak of the Covid-19 disease; meanwhile in Russia, virus cases have been seeing an upward trend.

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