French President Emmanuel Macron and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, have called the Paris Climate accord “irreversible”, following the withdrawal of the U.S. from the deal.

The two leaders in a joint statement reaffirmed “their firm support for the Paris accord which they consider as an irreversible process and a compass for strong action on climate”.

Macron and Xi met in Beijing.

On Monday, the U.S. announced it has filed paperwork to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the first formal step in a one-year process to exit the pact.

Once it exits, the United States – the top historic greenhouse gas emitter and leading oil and gas producer – will become the only country outside the accord.

READ ALSO: U.S. NOTIFIES UN OF PLANS TO WITHDRAW FROM PARIS CLIMATE ACCORDS

The Obama administration had signed the United States onto the 2015 pact, promising a 26-28% cut in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 from 2005 levels.

Mr Trump campaigned on a promise to rescind that pledge, saying it would hurt the U.S. economy while leaving other big polluters like China to increase emissions. He was bound by UN rules to wait until 4 November 2019, to file exit papers.

Mr Trump has already moved, however, to unwind a slew of Obama-era rules limiting emissions – including from the electricity industry, vehicles and the oil and gas drilling sector.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced this week that it planned to ease Obama-era rules on toxic coal ash.