UK prime minister Boris Johnson was advised that Xi likely will not be showing up at COP26 in Glasgow, the BBC reports. Rumors to that effect have been circulating for weeks. World leaders will be gathering at the conference from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 to discuss ways to minimize global warming and the effects of climate change. China has been the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases (which are responsible for rising temperatures) for a decade, largely because of its dependence on coal. It currently represents 30% of global carbon emissions, making Xi’s cooperation critical for the summit’s success.
Xi’s decision whether to appear on the world stage in Scotland may hinge on whether China believes the leader would be protected from Covid-19 infection while abroad. It’s believed he has not traveled outside of China at all for nearly two years, or more than 600 days. He has instead been virtually attending talks and holding video calls with other heads of state.