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China fail to attend UK climate and development summit

Joanne Parkinson

31st March 2021

Despite an invite to today's UK-hosted climate and development summit, China is not attending. Many feel this is likely due to increased tension between the two countries as the UK has been forthright in their opinions regarding China's treatment of certain minority groups in the country.

Approximately 35 countries are taking part in today's summit, seen as an important step in negotiations ahead of COP26 in Glasgow later this year.

It is concerning that China as the world's largest carbon emitter, a key trader and lender across the developing world, would choose to not attend such a pivotal summit; especially since the focus is on aiding developing countries most at risk, many of whom are neighbours and allies of China.

The COP26 summit in November will be an important event in the global governance of the climate crisis, in which the participation of highly industrialised nations, like China, will be crucial to tackling the threat of climate change. The concern going forward, therefore, is how to ensure that China is right at the heart of any discussions despite ongoing concerns about human rights abuses against its Uighur Muslim minority group. This will certainly be a difficult situation to navigate, with China having imposed sanctions on nine UK citizens for spreading "lies and disinformation" about events in the country just a week ago.

The political tension is likely to continue and it will be interesting to see whether UK diplomats can still encourage China's participation in COP26.

For more on this story, check out this BBC article.

Joanne Parkinson

An experienced, outstanding Geography teacher, GCSE examiner and Head of Humanities in a 11-18 school. I'm passionate about all geographical events and am a keen blogger.

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