(NUSA DUA, Indonesia) — Chinese President Xi Jinping has agreed to resume climate change talks with the United States, President Joe Biden said Monday, three months after Xi ended those contacts in anger over House Speaker Nancy’s trip Pelosi to Taiwan.
China and the US are the number 1 and number 2 climate polluters in the world. A resumption of what both parties give and receive negotiations on climate efforts is seen as crucial to achieving massive cuts in the use of coal and other fossil fuels needed to slow global warming.
Biden and Jinping met on the sidelines of Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. Both pledged on Monday to direct senior officials of their governments to “maintain communication and deepen constructive efforts” on issues including climate change and the security of world food supplythe White House announced.
John Kerry’s personal relationship with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, proved key to achieving the landmark Paris climate accord in 2015. Kerry was secretary of state then, and is now Biden’s climate envoy. Persuading China to act much more quickly to reduce its reliance on dirty-burning coal has been a key — and so far unrealized — effort of Kerry’s climate diplomacy under Biden.
Ani Dasgupta, head of the World Resources Institute, said in a statement on Monday that the global community is “heaving a sigh of relief” at the news that the two nations are resuming joint climate efforts.
Xi in August took a series of military and diplomatic measures, including stepped-up military maneuvers and cutting off contacts on a range of trade and other issues, to demonstrate China’s displeasure with Pelosi’s trip to self-ruled Taiwan. China claims that Taiwan is part of its territory.
Appearing for cameras ahead of their meeting on Monday, Biden told Xi the world expects the US and China “to be able to work together” on key issues including climate change and global food shortages.
“The United States is ready to do just that — to work with you — if that’s what you want,” Biden told Xi.
Xi and Biden’s meeting to ease tensions came as government officials from around the world gathered in Egypt for a UN climate summit aimed at pushing nations to meet pledges to cut climate-destroying fossil fuel emissions and to do even more.
Kerry and Xi had informal contacts during the suspension of climate cooperation between the two nations, focused on what would help restart a joint dialogue.
Xi and Biden also agreed to resume the same kind of top-level contacts on other issues critical to global stability, including debt relief, the White House said.
Knickmeier reported from Washington.
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