Prospects for a global climate summit later this year dimmed Saturday when Chinese President Xi Jinping said in Washington that the summit was not necessary at this time.
In a meeting with President Obama, Xi said the Paris Climate Accord needed to be increased “to a level that’s acceptable by all countries” to fight global warming, and made it clear he doesn’t support binding global climate targets, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Xi also spoke of his country’s upcoming National Congress of the Communist Party, saying it would take several years before “the inner harmony of the Party and the socialist system” could be shown, Xinhua reported.
The two leaders also spoke of the need to address tariffs and other trade barriers, with Obama saying the issue would have to be “central” to the agenda, Xinhua reported.
Xi also tried to assure Obama that his country was not behind the allegations of massive computer hacking that have rattled American businesses for months, the Associated Press reported.
“I would like to have mutual understanding as you know our Chinese nation has no tradition of conducting economic espionage,” Xi said in a speech to a business group at a hotel.
Xi’s no-show at the UN Climate Summit in September stirred some concern among U.S. officials that China was abandoning its own emission-reduction pledges.
The Trump administration also said earlier this week that the United States may resume its participation in the Paris accord if the world allows wealthy countries to keep emissions to safe levels.
Environmentalists and climate experts have urged countries to extend commitments as part of an effort to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, a level scientists say is needed to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.
The Washington Post’s Brad Plumer contributed to this report.