The Borneo Post (Sabah)
John Kerry to visit Shanghai for climate talks
SHANGHAI: US climate envoy John Kerry was set to arrive in China on Wednesday for what Beijing said would be a fourday trip, as the two countries seek cooperation over the environment despite acrimony on other fronts.
In the first trip to China by a Biden administration official, the former secretary of state will visit Shanghai before travelling onto the South Korean capital Seoul.
His trip comes in preparation for President Joe Biden’s virtual climate summit next week, to which the US leader has invited both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Beijing, which has so far not committed to Xi’s presence at the summit, said Kerry would arrive on Wednesday and stay until Saturday ‘at the invitation of China.’
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that during the trip Kerry will meet with China’s climate envoy Xie Zhenhua and “exchange views on Sino-US cooperation on climate change”, giving no other details.
Kerry’s trip comes despite a testy initial meeting last month in Alaska between top Biden officials and their Chinese counterparts.
The two sides clashed over accusations that China is violating promises of freedoms to Hong Kong and carrying out genocide against Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in the northwestern Xinjiang region.
Washington is hoping to find areas of common ground despite the high political tensions.
Kerry had told CNN that although Washington and Beijing had ‘big disagreements... climate has to stand alone.’
Biden has made climate a top priority, turning the page from his predecessor Donald Trump, who was closely aligned with the fossil fuel industry.
The US president has rejoined the 2015 Paris accord, which Kerry negotiated as secretary of state and committed nations to take action to keep temperature rises at no more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
No global solution is likely without both the US and China, the world’s top two economies which together account for nearly half of the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change.
China alone produces almost 30 per cent of carbon emissions, far more than any country, after decades of rapid industrialisation.