Sen. Marco Rubio said he can't explain why Chinese leader Xi Jinping will be a featured speaker at a White House virtual climate summit on Thursday, because his country is the world's "leading polluter" in terms of carbon emissions and will do nothing that will stop its growth.
"Evan as he's appearing at the summit, they are funding billions of dollars of fossil fuel-powered plants all over the world, including within China," the Florida Republican said on Fox Business' "Mornings With Maria." "Their emissions continue to climb. That's why I always tell people, U.S. action alone is irrelevant when you have countries like China who continue to increase their emissions and they're not going to stop doing that."
Xi, meanwhile, is "more than happy" to see the United States adopting policies that will increase the cost of growing the domestic economy, said Rubio.
"I don't think you are going to see them do anything that is going to slow down their ability to grow, and you’re not going to see them do anything that will stop funding this sort of activity all over the world," said Rubio. "Where they now control these power plants, it gives them geopolitical leverage, too."
Xi will participate in the online event by video link from Beijing, reports the government's Xinhua News Agency, and plans to "deliver an important speech."
In December, Xi said China’s emissions would fall by 65% from 2005 levels by 2030. The Communist nation and the United States have the largest emissions of climate-changing carbon pollution.
Meanwhile, it's "wishful thinking" to believe China will back down, particularly as it does not change government administrations every four or eight years like the United States does, said Rubio.
Also, Beijing promised in the past that it would not militarize the South China Sea, but now it's "fully militarized," said Rubio.
"There really is no deal they ever signed on to, any agreement they signed on to, that they’ve fully complied with," said Rubio. "What they count on is that in Western countries and democracies, leaders change every number of years. And so the new leaders will forget about the deals made with the old leaders or won't make it a priority. I think what is what they take advantage of, and I think that they’ll do the same with the climate."
Rubio on Wednesday also spoke out against "woke" corporations that are speaking out against Georgia's election law, pointing out that they have a right to believe and say what they want, but others have the right to point out their "hypocrisy."
"If you’re going to stand for human rights, if you’re going to stand for voting rights, if you’re going to stand for all these things, then you've got to be consistent about it," he said. "I think what is happening here is very simple. It is about money. It’s about the billions of dollars that they make from access to the Chinese market in some way, shape, or form. And so what happens is the price of having access to that market is their silence. If you speak out against something the Chinese Communist Party is doing, they’ll kick you out of the country, and you’ll become a target of all sorts of things. "
Other companies are in Washington lobbying agains the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which places restrictions on goods coming from China's Xinjiang region, said Rubio.
"They don't do it openly, but they’re doing it," he said. "Everybody knows they’re doing it because they are profiting from their business arrangement."
He also noted that nobody "knows exactly" where the COVID-19 pandemic originated, but the Chinese Communist Party was, "Not transparent from the very beginning."
"That has led the death and the suffering and the economic calamity all over the world," said Rubio. "I think an equally likely scenario is one in which there was an accident in a laboratory. That accident led to someone in there being infected, and that person took it out into the population, and then it spread all over the world."
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