PARIS â€” Chinese President Xi Jinping called Friday for closer co-operation on combating global change as he held a video meeting with the leaders of Germany and France, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
The talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel came in advance of a climate change meeting called by U.S. President Joe Biden for next week.
Xi said climate change "should not become a geopolitical chip, a target for attacking other countries or an excuse for trade barriers," Xinhua quoted the Chinese president as saying.
He expressed hope developed economies "will set an example in reducing emissions" and provide money and technology to help developing countries cope, according to Xinhua.
Merkel welcomed Xi reaffirming China's goal of CO2 neutrality by 2060 and supported China's approach of adjusting short-term targets, a spokesperson for the chancellor, Ulrike Demmer, said.
Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including Xi, to an April 22-23 virtual climate summit. The United States and other countries are expected to announce more ambitious national targets for cutting carbon emissions and to pledge financial help for the climate-protection efforts of less wealthy nations.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng signalled that his country is unlikely to make any new pledges. He spoke as Biden's climate envoy, John Kerry, was in Shanghai for closed-door meetings with Chinese counterparts.
While the talks with Xi largely focused on climate, Merkel and Macron also addressed human rights issues, including the treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority and the situation in Hong Kong, a French official said, without elaborating. The official spoke anonymously in accordance with the French presidency’s customary practices.
The leaders also talked about the coronavirus pandemic and the global COVID-19 vaccine supply, as well as economic development and other international and regional topics.
According to Xinhua, Xi said China opposes "vaccine nationalism" and was willing to work with France, Germany and other governments to help developing countries obtain coronavirus vaccines.
AP Writers David Rising in Berlin and Joe McDonald in Beijing contributed to this story.
Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press