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Suspension of climate change dialogue seen as nation's understandable reaction

By HOU LIQIANG | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-08-07 22:07

China's suspension of climate change talks with the United States is an understandable reaction, as the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan has infringed on China's core interests and jeopardized the political trust between the two nations, an expert said.

Photo released by Bay County Florida Emergency Services on March 5, 2022 shows a wildfire in Bay County, Florida, the United States. [Bay County Florida Emergency Services/Handout via Xinhua]

Suspending the talks is one of eight countermeasures the Foreign Ministry announced on Friday in response to Pelosi's visit. The other measures are mainly related to military and judicial communication.

Responding to the suspension, US Special Envoy on Climate Change John Kerry said on Friday that China's decision is "disappointing" and the suspension "punishes the world, particularly the developing world".

Experts said, however, that the US is to blame for the disappointing situation.

"There is a fundamental premise for countries to cooperate. They should at least have political trust in each other," said an expert from a nonprofit international organization who asked to remain anonymous.

Pelosi's visit to Taiwan has undermined the political trust. It is inevitable that cooperation in various sectors will be negatively affected as a ripple effect, said the expert, who has been following China-US climate cooperation for a long time.

Rebuking Kerry's statement as a way to "sow discord", the expert said, "Surely, I couldn't agree with him."

China has not stopped participating in the multilateral climate process. The country will still proactively take part in the process and shoulder its responsibility as a party to international climate treaties, he said.

The expert said he expects to see climate issues play a key role in bringing China-US climate cooperation back on track, provided the US takes no more actions to provoke China so that the tensions between the two nations can be eased.

Zhang Jianyu, executive director of the BRI Green Development Institute, also rebuked Kerry's criticism, saying the statement was "deceptive" and "does not make any sense".

"Firmly upholding its climate commitment, China has offered consistent support to developing countries," he said.

When addressing the General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2021, for example, President Xi Jinping said China will step up support for other developing countries in the development of green and low-carbon energy.

Zhang said the US had indeed undermined China's core interest on the Taiwan question, and it is thus understandable for China to take the countermeasures.

China has included climate talks in the countermeasures together with military dialogue and judicial communication. This shows that climate issues have been considered by the Chinese government as one of the cornerstones in China-US cooperation, he said.

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