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US climate envoy John Kerry speaks during a press conference in Paris on March 11. Photo: AFP

US climate envoy John Kerry to meet Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua

  • News of the talks comes after the two superpowers clashed at their first high-level in-person summit of the Biden-era in Alaska last week
  • The discussions may take place amid escalating tensions over sanctions by the US and its allies on Chinese officials over Xinjiang

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will meet his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday.

Sullivan, speaking in an interview on MSNBC, did not give an exact date for the US-China meeting on climate issues.

But the two will be speaking on Tuesday at a ministerial meeting on climate action hosted by the EU, Canada and China.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for Climate Change Affairs, speaks during a press conference in Beijing. Photo: Reuters
The meeting will come after top Chinese and US diplomats held their first meeting of Joe Biden’s presidency last Thursday and Friday in Alaska and publicly rebuked each other’s policies.

Tensions between the two superpowers rose further on Monday as the US, EU, UK and Canada banded together to sanction Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang

The Chinese delegation said after the Alaska summit that the two sides were “committed to enhancing communication and cooperation in the field of climate change,” Xinhua news agency said on Saturday, and would set up a joint working group on climate change.

Alaska clashes may be a sign of Beijing’s low short-term expectations

A State Department official said in a e-mailed statement on Sunday that while the world’s two biggest greenhouse emitters will engage on climate change, they “did not form a formal working group”.

The United States is expected to announce its new emission reduction target for the year 2030 under the Paris agreement by April 22, when Biden will host a world leaders’ summit on climate change.


Two sessions: How China's environmental policies are giving a boost to green industries

Two sessions: How China's environmental policies are giving a boost to green industries

Last fall, Chinese President Xi announced that China committed to achieve net zero emissions before 2060.

The State Department official said while that target “represents a significant step forward, China is not yet on a path that will allow the world to keep a 1.5-degree Celsius limit on global temperature rise within reach, which scientists tell us is necessary to stave off the most catastrophic impacts”.