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US envoy John Kerry’s visit to China on climate will be first by Biden team

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US climate envoy John Kerry will visit China this week to discuss efforts to curb carbon emissions, the first visit to the country by a senior member of President Joe Biden’s administration.

Kerry will travel to Shanghai and Seoul, South Korea, on April 14-17 to “discuss raising global climate ambition” before Biden’s climate summit, which is set to kick off April 22, the State Department said in a statement.

Kerry will meet with Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said during a regular briefing on Wednesday in Beijing. He added that Kerry is visiting at the invitation of Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The environmental ministry said in a statement that the two will discuss China-US climate cooperation, this year’s UN Climate Change Conference and other issues.

The meetings come after a rocky encounter between top US and Chinese foreign policy officials in Alaska last month that had the two sides trading insults and lectures. It may be a sign that despite significant differences between the world’s two biggest emitters on trade and foreign policy issues, they will be able to find common ground in the battle against climate change.

The US is seeking to regain its position as a global climate leader after former president Donald Trump implemented pro-fossil fuel policies and turned away from efforts to limit US greenhouse-gas production. Kerry, an ex-secretary of state, has been criss-crossing the globe to encourage other nations to step up their efforts, and the US is considering a pledge to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 50% or more by the end of the decade.

Biden has invited 40 world leaders to the climate summit, representing 17 of the biggest economies as well as smaller nations that will be among the first to feel the catastrophic impact of climate change.


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