US President Barack Obama (L) sits with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a bilateral meeting ahead of the opening of the UN conference on climate change COP21 on November 30, 2015 at Le Bourget, on the outskirts of Paris

The United States and China will be among the nations signing the Paris climate agreement in New York next month, the White House announced Wednesday, ahead of a meeting between President Barack Obama and Xi Jinping.

Seeking to highlight areas of cooperation amid disputes over the South China Sea and how hard to push back on North Korea's nuclear program, the White House said both countries would take part in a signing ceremony on April 22.

The two nations will also "take their respective domestic steps in order to join the Agreement as early as possible this year," according to a US statement.

An agreement between Obama and Xi to tackle domestic carbon emissions was seen as a key ingredient of the global accord achieved at a summit last year.

The global accord sets a target of limiting global warming to "well below" 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial levels.

But in the United States, Obama still faces a political and legal battle to meet the commitments.

The US Supreme Court has put on hold a sweeping plan to reduce from coal-fueled power plants, which was the capstone of Obama's climate reduction initiative.