US Climate Envoy Emphasizes Commitment to Cooperation during Meeting with China’s Top Diplomat
Beijing: US climate envoy John Kerry conveyed to China’s top diplomat on Tuesday that President Joe Biden’s administration is firmly dedicated to stabilizing relations between the world’s two largest economies. The discussions come as both countries seek to reestablish high-level contacts that have been strained in recent times.
During his second day of talks in Beijing, Kerry met with Wang Yi, the head of foreign relations for the ruling Communist Party. He expressed President Biden’s hope for the two nations to “jointly make significant contributions to the world.” The bilateral ties have reached a historic low due to disputes over tariffs, technological access, human rights concerns, and China’s stance towards Taiwan.
In his opening remarks, Wang acknowledged the lack of communication between the two sides and stated that China believes renewed dialogue can lead to appropriate solutions for any issues. He stressed the importance of conducting dialogue on an equal basis, possibly alluding to US criticism of China’s aggressive foreign policy and human rights violations. The US has also imposed travel sanctions on Chinese officials, including those in Hong Kong. (US Climate Envoy)
China had suspended some mid- and high-level contacts with the Biden administration last August, including on climate issues, in response to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. China views Taiwan as its own territory and has not ruled out using force to bring it under its control, which could potentially escalate tensions with the US.
Kerry’s visit marks the third instance of a senior Biden administration official traveling to China for meetings with their counterparts, following Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
Expressing gratitude for the opportunity to improve the relationship, Kerry affirmed Biden’s commitment to stability and making a significant positive impact on the world. He highlighted the value both President Biden and President Xi Jinping place on their relationship, expressing hope for a dynamic change and progress in bilateral ties. Kerry also met with Premier Li Qiang, emphasizing the need for closer cooperation between China and the US to address the immense challenge posed by global warming. However, no meeting with President Xi has been scheduled, and China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang has been out of public sight for the past three weeks. (US Climate Envoy)
No immediate details were available regarding Kerry’s Monday meeting with his counterpart Xie Zhenhua, which marked the first extensive face-to-face climate discussions between representatives of the two largest contributors to climate pollution after nearly a year of hiatus.
China, being the largest producer and consumer of coal globally, has been increasing its renewable energy capacity while continuing to build new coal-fired power plants. However, the US and the European Union have urged China to adopt more ambitious reduction targets.
Both China and the US have been witnessing record-breaking heatwaves that pose threats to crops and necessitate measures like opening Cold War-era bomb shelters to protect residents from extreme heat. (US Climate Envoy)
US lawmakers have criticized China for its resistance to making larger cuts in fossil fuel emissions, arguing that China, as a developing economy, should not be exempt from climate standards adopted by developed Western economies.
While President Biden and President Xi had previously spent time together during their vice presidential roles and met at the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia, no state visits have occurred since the COVID-19 outbreak, and there are currently no plans announced for their next face-to-face meeting.
In conclusion, US climate envoy John Kerry’s meetings with Chinese officials in Beijing demonstrate a concerted effort by the Biden administration to stabilize the rocky relations between the United States and China. Both sides acknowledged the need for improved communication and expressed a willingness to find solutions to their differences through dialogue conducted on an equal basis. The discussions focused on various issues, including trade, technology, human rights, and Taiwan. (US Climate Envoy)
While tensions between the two countries remain high, the commitment to dialogue and cooperation in areas such as climate change signifies a potential area of common ground. The meetings between senior officials from both nations indicate a desire to rebuild trust and work towards mutually beneficial outcomes.
However, significant challenges lie ahead, including disagreements over carbon emissions reductions and China’s assertive foreign policy. Achieving substantial progress in these areas will require sustained engagement and continued efforts from both sides. (US Climate Envoy)
As the world’s two largest economies, the relationship between the United States and China holds global significance. The outcome of their interactions will not only impact bilateral ties but also influence regional stability and shape international cooperation on crucial issues such as climate change, trade, and global governance.
Moving forward, it is essential for both countries to maintain open lines of communication, foster understanding, and seek areas of cooperation while managing their differences. The success of their engagements will have far-reaching implications for the global community and the pursuit of a stable and prosperous world order. (US Climate Envoy)