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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

US-China Talks Focus on Diplomatic Ties, with Modest Gains on Tackling Climate Change

John Kerry claims progress in resuming the relationship between the two largest economies

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CHINA: China and the US, both major contributors to global carbon emissions, focused more on repairing diplomatic ties rather than addressing climate change during their three-day meeting in Beijing. Despite goodwill, there was little hope for a breakthrough during the negotiations.

John Kerry claims progress in resuming the relationship between the two largest economies, but obstacles like American politics and diplomats’ employment prospects may hinder further progress. A formal response from China has not yet been released.

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Washington has been working to mend relations after tensions over national security, US export restrictions, and China’s state-led economic policy reached a low point.

American high-level travel to China has been halted due to Beijing’s resentment over Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August 2022. Kerry, a former secretary of state and Democratic presidential contender, visited China recently.

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Both Beijing and Washington aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move away from coal. China supports the goal of keeping global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, Kerry added.

Earlier, China has expressed doubt about achieving 1.5C and favours the lenient Paris target of 2C. Climate consultant Li Shuo believes China is prepared and eager to work aggressively, provided someone else doesn’t mess it up.

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The talks focus on strengthening a fragile diplomatic connection between China and the US, with Kerry and Xie focusing on advancements in the lead-up to COP28, the yearly UN climate summit.

Questions remain regarding the long-term future of Kerry and Xie, who is expected to retire due to health issues. Kerry, who will turn 80 in December, remained energised during negotiations, while Xie, 73, faced challenges in diplomacy due to the US’s political climate before the upcoming presidential election. Republicans have attacked Kerry’s trip for a stronger stance against China.

Premier Li Qiang urged wealthy nations to release funds, but top diplomat Wang Yi rejected this.

The US must meet China halfway on climate change issues, like solar panel trade restrictions, to maintain climate change cooperation, a Chinese newspaper said. Kerry remains confident that diplomacy can lead to greater benefits as COP28 approaches in Dubai.

Also Read: Rising Death Toll in South Korea Floods: President Yoon Points Finger at Failed Responses


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