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President Biden said at a COP26 press conference on Tuesday that Chinese leader Xi Jinping made a "big mistake" by not showing up to the UN climate summit, suggesting that Beijing has "lost an ability to influence" other countries as a result.

Why it matters: China is the world's largest source of greenhouse gases, but made no new commitments at COP26.

  • Xi has not left the country since January 2020 due to coronavirus concerns, and declined to travel to both the G20 in Rome and the landmark climate summit in Scotland this week — submitting only a written statement.
  • Biden had similarly tough words for Russia, whose President Vladimir Putin was also glaringly absent from COP26.

What they're saying: "We showed up. We showed up. And by showing up, we've had a profound impact on the way I think the rest of the world is looking at the United States and its leadership role," Biden said in his final remarks before departing the summit on Tuesday.

  • "I think it's been a big mistake, quite frankly, for China not showing up. The rest of the world looked at China and said, 'Well, what value are they providing?' And they've lost an ability to influence people around the world and all the people at COP," he continued.

The big picture: Biden was asked whether he was concerned that the potential for armed conflict with China had grown since he had taken office, given the tense state of relations and China's buildup of its nuclear capabilities.

  • "No, I'm not," Biden responded, noting that he has stressed in his conversations with Xi that the U.S-China competition does not need to tip over into conflict.
  • "I have also indicated to him, and I'm not reluctant to say it publicly, that we expect him to play by the rules of the road," he added.

What to watch: Biden reiterated that he and Xi are expected to hold a virtual summit some time before the end of the year.

Go deeper

JPMorgan CEO walks back joke about Chinese Communist Party

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon in Paris in June 2021. Photo: Michel Euler/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon walked back a recent critique of the Chinese Communist Party on Wednesday, saying he regrets joking that the bank will outlast the party in China.

Driving the news: Speaking at the Boston College Chief Executives Club Tuesday, Dimon noted that JPMorgan's Chinese operations and the CCP were both celebrating their 100th year anniversary in 2021 and said he would bet that the bank would outlive the party, according to Bloomberg.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Iran preparing to enrich weapons-grade uranium, Israel warns U.S.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds a press conference. Photo: Presidency of Iran handout via Getty

Israel has shared intelligence over the past two weeks with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich uranium to 90% purity — the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon, two U.S. sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: Enriching to 90% would bring Iran closer than ever to the nuclear threshold. The Israeli warnings come as nuclear talks resume in Vienna, with Iran returning to the negotiating table on Monday after a five-month hiatus.

Biden: Fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday said that the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, is "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic."

Driving the news: Biden said later this week the administration will be releasing a strategy on how "we're going to fight COVID this winter. Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more."

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