Climate cooperation may reshape US-China relations

US special envoy for climate John Kerry met Tuesday in Beijing with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi, as the two countries push for a revival of faltering diplomacy to curb emissions.

Wang received the US envoy at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, where the two officials shook hands and exchanged words of welcome before the start of their meeting, according to an AFP correspondent.

“For a healthy, stable and sustainable relationship”

Addressing Kerry, whom he described as an “old friend,” Wang said that “collaboration on climate change is advancing under the general atmosphere between China and the United States,” adding, “There is a need for a healthy, stable and sustainable China-US relationship.”

For his part, Kerry considered that global warming represented a “threat to all humanity” and required “global leadership.” “We’re very optimistic that this is the beginning and not just a conversation between you and me and us on the climate track,” Luang said.

Regarding the tense relations between China and the United States, Kerry stressed that President Joe Biden is “committed to stability in this relationship, and also to achieving efforts together that can make a big difference in the world.”

President Biden “values ​​his relationship with President Xi, and I think President Xi values ​​his relationship with President Biden,” he said, “and I know he’s looking forward to being able to move forward to change the dynamics.”

“We now hope that this will be the beginning of a new definition of cooperation and the ability to resolve the differences between us,” he added, referring to “real differences” between the two parties.
“But we also know from experience that if we focus on it, we can find the path forward and ways to solve these challenges,” he stressed.

Beijing suspended climate dialogue with Washington in August 2022 in protest of a visit to Taiwan by then-Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

The impact of climate change is becoming clear

Kerry, the former secretary of state, enjoys relatively cordial relations with China, despite the worsening rift between the two countries over Taiwan and other issues.
China’s state broadcaster CCTV reported that Kerry met his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, for four hours on Monday.

“Both countries must act urgently on a number of fronts, particularly the challenges of coal and methane pollution,” Kerry said in a tweet after the talks.
US officials have visited China in recent months to improve diplomatic relations, from US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in June to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in early July.

The US official’s visit, his third to China since taking office, comes at a time when the impact of climate change has become clear, with heat waves in many regions of the world.

President Joe Biden’s administration sees the climate as one area where two rival powers could cooperate.

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