John Kerry arrives in Beijing amid a scorching heat wave, the world expects China and the U.S. to overcome the climate crisis
US President Kerry, the special envoy for climate issues of the US President, arrived in Beijing on the afternoon of the 16th, starting a 4-day visit to China. He is the third senior official of the US Biden administration to visit China in the past month. This shows that the high-frequency and multi-field interactions between China and the United States are continuing to deepen. Regarding Kerry’s visit to China this time, both China and the United States expressed their hope for in-depth communication and dialogue on climate issues. At present, many countries in the world, including China and the United States, are experiencing the hottest summer in history. The continuous heat wave highlights the critical moment when the world is facing the climate crisis. Achieve cooperation results. Some analysts believe that Sino-US cooperation in addressing climate change can not only “help the planet”, but also help Sino-US relations avoid “derailment”. However, there is still an anti-China atmosphere in the United States. Some lawmakers have accused Kerry of visiting China and having a dialogue with China on the climate issue, which is a “weak stance on China.” In this regard, Kerry said that if the United States does not communicate with China, “it will be the worst mistake in terms of diplomacy, politics and common sense.”
China, the US and the world face a common crisis
“While China and the United States are trying to repair the broken relationship, Kerry arrived in Beijing in a heat wave.” CNN stated that Kerry started the long-awaited (US-China) trip to restart climate negotiations on the 16th. When Kerry stepped off the plane, it was the hottest summer on record in Beijing. Since 1951, Beijing has experienced 11 days of high temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius, and nearly half of the time has occurred in the past few weeks. Beijing has also created the hottest record in the city’s history. Likewise, extreme heatwaves are raging in the US, with temperatures soaring to 49C in some parts of the Southwest. According to the report, this is clearly a global crisis, and the earth has recorded the hottest temperature so far this month for 4 consecutive days. The report quoted Greenpeace experts as saying: “Despite the political differences between China and the United States, the impact of climate change has now become a common experience for both countries – it is no longer a hypothetical crisis or a challenge that is artificially analyzed, but It’s a lived reality that’s tangibly felt.”
The 79-year-old Kerry is a veteran of the Democratic Party. He once ran for the President of the United States and served as Secretary of State. He is also a well-known advocate for cooperation to tackle the global climate crisis. This is his third visit to China since being appointed by Biden as the President’s special envoy on climate issues. He visited Shanghai in April 2021. It was the first visit to China by a senior US official since the Biden administration took office. That visit prompted a joint U.S.-China statement on tackling the climate crisis. Five months later, Kerry visited Tianjin again.
Agence France-Presse said that during his visit to China, Kerry will meet with senior Chinese officials. The world is paying close attention to whether he can push China and the United States to resume climate negotiations again, and also hopes that China and the United States will seek cooperation in the dialogue to deal with the global warming crisis.
Regarding Kerry’s visit to China, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment stated that the two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on cooperation in tackling climate change. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin recently emphasized that China and the United States have conducted sound cooperation in the field of climate change and jointly promoted the entry into force of the Paris Agreement. We hope that the U.S. will work with China to create favorable conditions and atmosphere for China-U.S. climate cooperation. The U.S. State Department also stated in a statement that Kerry will engage with China on addressing the climate crisis during his stay in China, including strengthening implementation (emission reduction measures), raising (emission reduction) ambitions, and promoting the 28th resolution of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The second Conference of the Parties (COP28) was successfully held.
The COP28 conference will be held in Dubai, UAE at the end of this year. At that time, the United Nations will take stock of the commitments and actions of each party’s determined contributions to address climate change, and negotiate and formulate an enhanced action plan. A Chinese scholar told the Global Times that the U.S. obviously hopes that through Kerry’s visit to China, it will push China and the U.S. to resume climate negotiations and demonstrate its global leadership in addressing the climate crisis at the COP28 meeting.
Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, said in an interview with a reporter from the Global Times on the 16th that climate change is a global challenge that requires the joint efforts of all countries, and it is difficult to cooperate without political trust. If the United States can show respect and an equal attitude, there is a possibility of cooperation between China and the United States. However, the climate issue is an issue deeply troubled by domestic politics in the United States. In view of the current unhealthy political atmosphere in the United States toward China and the restrictions of Congress, there is uncertainty about whether Kerry can achieve results during his visit to China.
China and the US gradually resume multi-field dialogue
The international community is very concerned about Kerry’s visit to China. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said on the 16th that during Kerry’s visit to China, the world is most concerned about whether China and the United States can put aside diplomatic tensions and focus on key global climate goals. International observers generally believe that Kerry’s visit may not achieve substantive breakthroughs, but it may promote climate dialogue in “the current relatively calm period”. According to the report, unlike differences such as trade, China and the United States should not and cannot “decouple” on the climate issue. The climate issue is an issue that no country can deal with alone. Kamon, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, warned: “If China and the United States compete on other issues instead of jointly addressing climate change, they will compete on the deck of the (sinking) Titanic.” A lounge chair that can bask in the sun is no different.” The report also said that if the US and China can restart the climate dialogue, this may also become a breakthrough in the negotiations between the two sides in other fields such as economy and trade.
According to Reuters, Kerry’s visit to China shows that the climate issue “remains the world’s most important touchstone of bilateral relations.” Historically, U.S.-China dialogue on climate issues has driven global climate negotiations, including laying the groundwork for the 2015 Paris Agreement.
“Kerry’s visit to China, China and the United States are gradually resuming the dialogue on dealing with the global crisis.” South Korea’s YTN TV station said on the 16th that Kerry’s visit to China is considered to be an extension of the high-level dialogue between China and the United States after Secretary of State Blinken and Treasury Secretary Yellen. In addition to the field of defense, dialogue between China and the United States on global issues such as diplomacy, finance, and addressing climate change is resumed. The Hankyoreh News stated that the United States has recently sent senior officials to visit China one after another, while not relaxing its containment on China, making seemingly contradictory voices. According to reports, this may be a plan formulated by the United States to prevent the situation from getting out of control before the United States attempts to push China into a corner; some analysts also said that the leaders of the United States and Western countries define China as a “competitor” and “challenge”, but are scrambling for the first place. The reason to visit China is that China’s cooperation is inseparable in many fields.
Kerry: MP’s accusations ‘appalling’
Although Sino-US dialogue is conducive to addressing global crises such as the climate issue and is also beneficial to the interests of the United States, Kerry’s visit to China has still been fiercely criticized by politicians from both parties. The attitudes of these politicians not only exposed their hostility to China, but also exposed the “shocking” true attitude of the United States towards the global climate issue. The New York Times stated that although Kerry has always said that the United States needs to cooperate with China on the climate issue and emphasized that “this is not a concession”, many lawmakers still criticized him for his “weak stance” on China. According to reports, before Kerry’s visit to China, the House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee held a tense hearing on the 13th. Members criticized Kerry’s negotiation with the biggest opponent of the United States for “putting China’s interests above the United States.”
At the hearing, Kerry defended his visit to China, saying: “We are trying to find ways to cooperate with China to effectively solve the global climate crisis. China, as the world’s second largest economy, is crucial to whether we can solve this problem.” It’s very important.” In this regard, some congressmen tried their best to attack Kerry. Congressman Scott Perry accused Kerry of wasting U.S. resources on climate, calling global warming a “non-existent problem.” Perry even said, “They are all liars like you.” In response, Kerry lamented that such a view, which runs counter to the conclusions of governments and scientists around the world, is “shocking”.
Li Haidong said that Kerry is another senior US official who visits China after Blinken and Yellen, demonstrating the continuous momentum of China-US consultation and dialogue. This means that although China and the United States have differences on many issues, they both intend to manage and control the differences so as to avoid the “derailment” of bilateral relations. He said that many senior U.S. officials visited China, mainly focusing on the “cooperable” areas of the U.S. policy toward China, including finance, economy and trade, and climate.
Li Haidong believes that the United States has recently put forward a series of demands on China on climate issues, including demanding that China increase its emission reduction responsibilities, demand that China pay more funds for the world’s response to climate change, and demand that China not participate in the international climate response as a developing country. Change negotiations, etc. “These ‘American-style demands’ reflect that the United States is still trying to pressure China to meet its demands. If the United States uses such an attitude to talk to China, it will be difficult to achieve results.” Li Haidong said.