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Prior to the Xi-Biden summit, China and the US have promised to work together in combatting the climate crisis.

The leaders of China and the US have made a commitment to join forces in combatting global warming, recognizing the urgent threat of the climate crisis. This pledge was made just hours before a crucial meeting in San Francisco between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping.

This statement increases expectations that the two countries can repair their relationship after experiencing conflict for years over matters such as trade, human rights, and the fate of Taiwan.

After holding discussions about climate change in the United States, a joint statement was issued promising to ensure the success of an important United Nations climate conference beginning later this month in Dubai. They also reaffirmed their commitment to the 2015 Paris climate agreement, which aims to keep global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius and make efforts to limit it even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The statement acknowledged that the climate crisis is impacting countries globally and stated that the United States and China will collaborate to address this urgent challenge for the well-being of current and future generations.

The upcoming summit between Xi and Biden marks the first time the two leaders will meet in person in a year. US officials have described it as a chance to lessen tensions in what is considered to be the most perilous rivalry in the world.

This follows a string of pacts designed to establish a minimum for the partnership. In addition to the recently released climate agreement, the two nations are anticipated to come to a understanding regarding regulating the distribution of fentanyl from China to the United States.

The United States is aiming to resume discussions with the military, which have mostly been on hold since Nancy Pelosi, the previous Speaker of the House of Representatives, visited Taiwan last year.

The upcoming Taipei elections in January are likely to put a strain on cross-strait relations, making Taiwan a prominent topic in the discussions between Xi and Biden. China is eager to address their concerns about the perceived shift in the Biden administration’s stance towards supporting Taiwan, which China considers a part of its territory.

Ahead of the summit, Chinese state media have taken on a more cordial approach towards the US. The official newspaper of the Communist Party, the People’s Daily, stated in its international edition: “The Chinese people will always remember an old friend, and this is a significant message we wish to convey to the American people.” The typically contentious newspaper, Global Times, urged for collaboration between the two nations.

Xi Jinping arrives onboard a plane in San Francisco, California, on 14 November 2023.

One of the most notable features in the climate statement was that both countries would commit to “economy-wide” nationally determined contributions (NDCs) across all greenhouse gases, not just CO2

China has previously opposed the concept of clearly defining the sectors of the economy that would be included in its commitments to address climate change.

The new leader of the China Climate Hub, Li Shuo, from the Asia Policy Institute, stated that the use of “economy-wide” NDCs suggests a strict structure, which will improve the clarity of China’s emissions. This has been a goal advocated by the US for a long time.

The climate representatives of the US and China, John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua, convened at Sunnylands in California to revive their collaboration. It is widely acknowledged that achieving the goals set by the Paris Agreement will demand a significant joint endeavor to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decade.

On Tuesday, Xi made his first trip to the US in six years. He greeted officials on the tarmac, including Janet Yellen, the treasury secretary, and Nicholas Burns, the US ambassador to China, by waving from the top of a passenger staircase attached to his Air China plane before coming down to meet them.

After that, he entered his Chinese Hongqi limousine, also known as the “Red Flag”, and left the airport for the city. There are anticipated demonstrations in both support and protest of his visit.

On Wednesday, he is scheduled to have a meeting with Biden in an unknown place in San Francisco. This meeting is predicted to go on for at least four hours, after which he will participate in the yearly Apec summit.

Biden aims to mend the strained relationship with China through discussions with Xi. He plans to restore regular communication, including military contact, between the two global powers. John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, stated that Biden and Xi will also address the Gaza conflict and US aid for Ukraine.

Before Xi arrived, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to the ministers of the 21-member Apec. He emphasized the US’s belief in a region where economies have the freedom to choose their own path, and where goods, ideas, and people can flow lawfully and freely.

Blinken’s statement did not reference China, but his words mirrored the United States’ rhetoric in recent times. The US has accused Beijing of intimidating smaller nations in the Indo-Pacific region and attempting to disrupt the current “rules-based” system, according to Washington and its allies.

Supporters and well-wishers of the Chinese president await his motorcade at the St Regis hotel on 14 November 2023 in San Francisco, California.

Katherine Tai, the US trade representative who co-hosted the Apec ministerial session with Blinken, stated that the San Francisco meeting took place during a period of significant uncertainty and difficulties for the region. She acknowledged rising political tensions, vulnerable supply chains, and a deteriorating climate emergency.

Biden stated that the US does not aim to disconnect from China, but rather seeks to improve the economic relationship. His administration has emphasized the need to reduce risk in certain key US supply chains from China, as the economic and military rivalry between the two nations has increased.

However, the US has made a point to reassure countries in the region, such as China, that it is not aiming for complete economic isolation. This idea has sparked worry among the US’s allies and partners, who fear a potential clash between superpowers that could disrupt the global economy.

Hundreds of individuals, primarily in favor of China, gathered with Chinese flags outside of the Chinese delegation’s hotel ahead of Xi’s arrival in the United States. In the past few weeks, associations of Chinese individuals living abroad and former students of Chinese universities have been enlisting members to greet Xi’s visit.

Bigger demonstrations are anticipated to take place near the summit location on Wednesday, involving rights organizations that are openly critical of Xi’s approaches towards Tibet, Hong Kong, and Uyghur Muslims.

With Reuters and Agence France-Presse

Source: theguardian.com