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John Kerry, US Climate Envoy, to Visit China

Published: July 12, 2023
US climate envoy John Kerry (L) attends next to China's special climate envoy Xie Zhenhua during a session at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos on May 24, 2022. (Image: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

After China trips by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in June and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen earlier this month, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, is confirmed for a visit to America’s major trade partner and growing geopolitical rival from July 16 to July 19.

Kerry is also a former Democratic presidential candidate, having vied with then-incumbent George W. Bush in 2004.

The Biden administration has in recent months sought a conciliatory tone with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), despite introducing new legislation to restrict exports of key technological goods to the PRC and taking a tougher stance on Beijing’s military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

During Yellen’s four-day trip to China, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials reiterated pledges to cooperate with the U.S. on battling climate change.

According to a Reuters piece on the upcoming visit, “climate experts have said they do not expect Kerry’s trip to add much momentum to climate negotiations, given ongoing political tensions between the two sides.”

However, the two sides could come to some localized agreements, such as on reducing emissions of the greenhouse gas methane.

Joanna Lewis, who researches Chinese climate policies at Georgetown University, said that it was “important that some sort of positive agenda comes out of this meeting, even if it is simply an agreement to continue to meet,” she said during a webinar on U.S.-China climate cooperation, Reuters reported.