Date
23 September 2017
John Kerry says cyber security and maritime issues will continue to test Sino-US relations but these should not prevent the two countries from leading the fight against climate change. Photo Bloomberg
John Kerry says cyber security and maritime issues will continue to test Sino-US relations but these should not prevent the two countries from leading the fight against climate change. Photo Bloomberg

Kerry: US-China climate change leadership essential

United States Secretary of State John Kerry urged closer cooperation with China to tackle climate change and other issues, despite differences over cyber spying and maritime security.

Kerry was laying the groundwork for a state visit to Beijing next week by President Barack Obama to attend the APEC summit, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Obama is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of a Nov. 10-16 swing across Asia which includes visits to Myanmar and Australia for the G20 leaders summit.

Kerry, who will visit China ahead of Obama and return later to join him there, called the US-China relationship the “most consequential in the world today”.

“As two of the world’s major powers and largest economies, we have a profound opportunity to set a constructive course on any number of issues, from climate change to global trade, and obviously, we have a fundamental interest in doing so,” he said in a speech on Tuesday at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

He said the relationship must be “carefully managed and guided.”

Kerry called for “constructively coordinating” efforts on the wide range of issues where the interests of the two countries are aligned.

He said officials at all levels openly air disagreements over regional security, particularly in the South and East China seas, as well as over cyber spying and human rights.

These disagreements “will undoubtedly continue to test the relationship”,  Kerry said.

Nonetheless, the two nations play crucial roles in facing the threat from climate change, he said.

“How our two countries lead — or don’t lead — on climate and clean energy will make the difference as to whether or not we’re able to fully take advantage of this unprecedented economic opportunity and whether the world is able to effectively address climate change and the threat that it poses to global security, prosperity, and health.” 

Kerry praised China for helping to stem nuclear proliferation by Iran and North Korea and highlighted China’s contributions to the international effort to combat the deadly Ebola virus, the report said.

He also welcomed China’s participation in Afghanistan and said China could help counter the threat of the extremist group Islamic State.

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