Vice President Joe Biden has apologized for hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping at the U.N. climate summit on Monday, telling foreign leaders that he believed the climate summit would pass unnoticed on election day in America. Biden gave a ringing endorsement of China’s commitment to combat climate change and downplayed the controversy of Chinese emissions pollution. Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Zhenhua, however, on Thursday dismissed Biden’s apology and said China would not attend a meeting of leaders from the Group of Seven major economies on climate change when it convenes on September 26.
Mr. Biden said he had spoken with President Xi, who echoed a lengthy Chinese statement from Sunday, that “China’s strategy has always been to protect its economic interests in the global context. But we have made clear our willingness to advance the global fight against climate change and contribute to stability in the Pacific.”
Senior Chinese diplomats at the U.N. climate summit on Monday argued that Mr. Biden had made the event a campaign event that would help the Democrats during the midterm elections, and would not contribute to meaningful climate-change negotiations. They also took issue with him telling the Chinese audience, “you are both seizing on a world problem to use as a political tool,” noting the senior Chinese envoy, Xie Zhenhua, who said that Biden’s behavior was a “shameful show.”
“If you’re a powerful country, you don’t have to apologize when your overseas guests criticize you,” he said. “Who is he protecting? The U.S. people or Americans in general?”