BEIJING (Reuters) -China said on Wednesday that a condition for the resumption of bilateral climate talks with the United States was Washington dispelling the “negative influence” left by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this month.
In response to the visit on Aug. 2-3, China on Aug. 5 suspended bilateral cooperation with the United States in a number of areas, including climate talks and dialogue between senior-level military commanders.
U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change John Kerry, who earlier this month said the suspension of bilateral climate talks punished the entire world, urged Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, in an interview with the Financial Times, to resume the discussions.
The former U.S. Secretary of State, who is currently the Biden administration’s top climate diplomat, also told the newspaper he was hopeful the countries could “get back together” ahead of the United Nations’ COP27 climate summit in November in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
China, which claims the self-ruled island of Taiwan as its own territory, responded to Kerry’s remarks on Wednesday by stating the resumption of climate talks with the United States was dependent on actions taken by Washington to address the “negative influence” of Pelosi’s Taiwan visit.
“The U.S. side should dispel the negative influence of Pelosi scuttling to Taiwan, this is an indispensable condition of China-U.S. climate change cooperation,” China’s foreign ministry said in a written statement sent to Reuters.
The statement also said China would continue to actively participate in international forums on climate change.
Beijing’s response highlights the divergent approaches to global climate change cooperation between the world’s two superpowers.
While officials in the Biden administration, including Kerry, have repeatedly expressed hope that U.S.-China cooperation on climate change would not be affected by tensions on other fronts, Beijing has rejected any separating of issues in U.S.-China relations.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters the two countries’ militaries could still communicate even at lower levels in “areas where contention can run high,” such as in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, but that channels on climate and narcotics were still shut down.
“That’s really unfortunate because … particularly on fentanyl and climate, there’s a global impact here for the two largest economies in the world to not have an ability to collaborate,” Kirby said.
(Reporting by Eduardo Baptista in Beijing and Michael Martina and Jeff Mason in Washington; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Chris Reese)