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.

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