US Climate Envoy Kerry Holds Talks With Chinese Deputy Leader Amid Strained Relations

The meeting occurred as the Biden administration seeks to improve relations with the Chinese Communist Party.
US Climate Envoy Kerry Holds Talks With Chinese Deputy Leader Amid Strained Relations
U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry attends a meeting with China's Premier Li Qiang in Beijing on July 18, 2023. (Florence Lo/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Aldgra Fredly
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U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry met with Chinese deputy leader Han Zheng in New York City on Sept. 19 as the Biden administration seeks to stabilize strained relations with China.

The two sides met on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly to discuss the “critical importance of bilateral and multilateral efforts to address the climate crisis,” according to the State Department.

Mr. Kerry stated on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had a “constructive conversation” with Mr. Han. He reiterated the urgency to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

He also urged the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules China as a one-party regime, to “raise ambition” in accelerating decarbonization efforts and reducing emissions of super pollutants like methane.

Mr. Kerry has been among some top U.S. officials from the Biden administration to have visited China in recent months to improve relations with the CCP. He visited Beijing in July for climate talks with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua.

Other U.S. top officials who have made the visits include Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The day before the meeting, Mr. Blinken held talks with Mr. Han on the sidelines of the U.N. summit as both sides agreed “to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage the U.S.–China relationship.”

Mr. Blinken “explored potential areas of cooperation and advocated for progress on shared transnational challenges” and touched on issues from the Russia–Ukraine war to North Korea’s provocative actions.

He emphasized the need to maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait, where the CCP has been escalating its military drills to exert pressure on Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing claims as part of its territory.

Biden Administration Making ‘Repeated Concessions’

Rep. Young Kim (R-Calif.), who chairs the Subcommittee on Indo-Pacific at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that the Biden administration’s move to engage with Beijing could embolden the CCP to continue its military actions against Taiwan.
Rep. Young Kim (R-Calif) during an interview at the Concordia Annual Summit in New York on Sept. 18, 2023. (Richard Moore/The Epoch Times)
Rep. Young Kim (R-Calif) during an interview at the Concordia Annual Summit in New York on Sept. 18, 2023. (Richard Moore/The Epoch Times)
“The CCP’s threats against Taiwan should not be taken lightly by the United States,” she told The Epoch Times. “The Biden administration’s repeated concessions to simply get a meeting with CCP are emboldening the CCP to continue its reckless behavior.”

“We have to continue to support our partners in Taiwan. We have to continue to make crystal clear that any action that undercuts their safety and security is unacceptable.”

The CCP sent 103 warplanes and nine vessels toward Taiwan within a 24-hour period between Sept. 17 and Sept. 18, with 40 of the detected aircraft spotted crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait.
Another 55 Chinese warplanes and seven vessels were spotted near the island on Sept. 19, with 27 planes spotted entering the southwest of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.

In both incidents, Taiwan’s military deployed aircraft and vessels to monitor the Chinese military’s movement. Taiwan’s defense ministry warned that the surge in Chinese warplanes could escalate tensions.

“The Communist Army’s persistent military harassment can easily result in a sharp increase in tensions and worsen regional security,” the ministry said in a statement on Sept. 18.

The CCP claims Taiwan is a breakaway province that must be united with mainland China and vows to use military force to achieve this goal. Taiwan has been a self-governing democracy since the Chinese Civil War ended in 1949 and has never been controlled by the CCP.

The country maintains legal ties with Taiwan guaranteeing that it will supply the island with the arms it needs for self-defense.

Eva Fu and Reuters contributed to this report.