Climate change calls for New definition of China-US cooperation, Says Kerry
US climate envoy John Kerry emphasized the need for a novel form of collaboration between China and the United States during his visit to Chinese officials on Tuesday. Recognizing global warming as a peril to humanity, Kerry urged both nations, which are the world’s largest polluters, to take immediate action to curb planet-warming emissions.
Speaking at the prestigious Great Hall of the People in Beijing alongside China’s top diplomat Wang Yi, Kerry emphasized the necessity of global leadership in tackling the climate crisis. The timing of Kerry’s visit coincided with the record-setting summer heatwaves experienced in the Northern Hemisphere, further intensified by climate change, as confirmed by scientists.
Kerry conveyed to Wang, “Climate, as you know, is a global issue, not a bilateral issue. It’s a threat to all of humankind.” He stressed the importance of international cooperation and expressed hope for the emergence of new dimensions of collaboration and problem-solving between the two nations, acknowledging the existence of differences but emphasizing the possibility of finding common ground and resolving challenges.
In response, Wang underlined the significance of maintaining a healthy, stable, and sustainable relationship between China and the United States. He expressed the need for joint support from the people of both nations, referring to Kerry as an “old friend.”
Last year, climate negotiations between the two largest greenhouse gas emitters faced a setback following Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory. However, Kerry, having established relatively smooth and consistent relations with China, seeks to revive diplomatic efforts on climate change despite existing disputes over Taiwan and other matters.
During his visit, Kerry also met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, who described climate change as a daunting challenge. Li emphasized the necessity for coordination, consensus-building, and accelerated action among China, the United States, and all countries worldwide.
Kerry’s extensive discussions with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, lasting approximately four hours, focused on the urgent need for action, particularly regarding coal and methane pollution. Kerry later tweeted that “both countries must take urgent action on a number of fronts” in response to the talks.
China acknowledged that climate change presents a common challenge for humanity. Kerry’s visit follows recent high-profile visits by other US officials, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, aimed at stabilizing US-China relations.
In an alarming development, China experienced a record-breaking temperature of 52.2 degrees Celsius (126 degrees Fahrenheit) in its northwest region over the weekend. Xin Xin, an analyst from the China Meteorological Administration, noted that this was the highest temperature ever recorded at a regional station in the country.
As Kerry continues his trip, the United States expects him to emphasize the necessity for China to take decisive action in reducing emissions. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, in an interview with CNN, emphasized that every country, including China, bears the responsibility to decrease their emissions to combat climate change effectively.