China urges ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ with US on climate cooperation
Published: Apr 17, 2021 09:38 PM
climate Photo:VCG

climate Photo:VCG

Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng expressed his willingness for cooperation with the US on tackling climate change in a video conference with US climate envoy John Kerry on Friday, which Chinese experts believed sent a message that China expects the US will put aside political mindsets and promote cooperation on climate with sincerity. 

The video meeting was held amid Kerry’s four-day trip to China, during which he is also set to meet with Xie Zhenhua, China's special envoy for climate change affairs.

China attaches great importance to dialogue and cooperation with the US on climate change and expects that the US will uphold the Paris Agreement and fulfill its due responsibilities, Han Zheng, who is also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, was quoted as saying in a report by Xinhua News Agency on Saturday. 

As the largest developing country and the largest developed country in the world, China and the US should observe “common but differentiated responsibilities” in addressing climate change. China is ready to work with the US to leverage the strengths of each other and work with all parties to implement the Paris Agreement, Han said. 

Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Saturday that Han’s remarks delivered a message that climate change is not a free-standing issue, hoping the US would set aside political concerns and sincerely promote mutual cooperation.

Lü said reducing carbon emissions is related to the fields of science and technology, the new-energy industry and super computers used for monitoring the climate, but unfortunately, these fields have experienced a crackdown from the US against China. 

In the video meeting with Han, Kerry pointed out the vital importance of  the two countries’ cooperation in battling the climate crisis and said the US is willing to strengthen communication and deepen collaboration with China on the matter, said the Xinhua report. 

The former US secretary of state told the media prior to his trip to China that the US has to “work together” with China to tackle climate change despite the “big disagreements” on some key issues, otherwise “you are just killing yourself.”

Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said that Kerry has been outspoken on the US’s willingness to cooperate with China on climate change since he came into office, however, the US would not “make any deals” with China nor let cooperation “affect” its competition and confrontation with China. 

He said Han’s remarks  stressing the “common but differentiated responsibilities” of the US and China might be a response to the attempt by the US to shift its own responsibility onto China.  

China welcomes the US’ return to the Paris Agreement, yet the US has to show its sincerity and convince the world that it won’t break its promise again, Cui said. 

China has announced a series of policies in its national strategy in 2020 in response to global climate change, raising an ambitious goal to have its carbon dioxide emissions peak by the year of 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2060. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the virtual meeting of a climate summit with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, during which the Chinese leader reiterated the country's international commitment to climate change issues.