Add Climate Diplomacy to the U.S.-China Rivalry

Add Climate Diplomacy to the U.S.-China Rivalry
An array of solar panels in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, northwestern China, Oct. 10, 2015 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

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The United States and China struck a rare cooperative tone in a joint statement issued after two days of meetings between John Kerry, the Biden administration’s climate envoy, and his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, in Shanghai last week. That contrasted starkly with the confrontational public remarks that preceded the first high-level meeting between the two countries’ representatives in Alaska last month. But despite the changed tone coming out of Kerry’s visit, opinions are divided over whether it will have any long-term impact—on U.S.-China relations or on climate diplomacy.

“The United States and China are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands,” the statement read. It further added that both countries are looking forward to the Leaders Summit on Climate convened by U.S. President Joe Biden, to which 40 heads of states have been invited. Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to give a speech at the event, which will take place virtually Thursday and Friday.

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