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China's Xi will not attend Rome G20 summit in person - source

G20 leaders to commit to tackle 'existential' climate challenge - draft
G20 leaders to commit to tackle 'existential' climate challenge - draft Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021
By Reuters
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ROME - Chinese President Xi Jinping will not attend a Rome summit of the Group of 20 leading economies in person, a source close to the matter said on Tuesday.

China will be represented at the summit on Saturday and Sunday by its foreign minister while Xi, whose presence had been in doubt for some time, will join the summit remotely, the source said.

The Kremlin said last week that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not be in Rome for the summit, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador have also said they will not come.

The source said the absences would not compromise the chances of making good progress at the summit, which will focus mainly on climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gathering hopes to achieve recognition from G20 leaders of the importance of limiting global warming to 1.5 decrees Celsius, the source said, and a commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by "around the middle of the century."

The wording on these issues will be closely watched for whether it is stronger than at a meeting of G20 energy and environment ministers in Naples in July.

At that meeting, ministers failed to reach unanimous agreement on setting dates for ending fossil fuel subsidies and phasing out coal power, and the Italian presidency asked leaders to try to bridge the differences at the Rome summit.

India also distanced itself from the part of the communique underlining the need to achieve net-zero emissions around mid-century, and suggested that emissions should be considered on a per capita basis".

The G20, whose countries account for 80% of global carbon emissions, is considered an important stepping stone before the United Nations COP26 climate summit next week in Scotland.

The G20 also aims to underline that rich countries should stump up $100 billion dollars per year to help poorer nations adapt to climate change.

This goal was supposed to be achieved by 2020, according to an agreement reached in 2009, but has not been met.

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