Climate cooperation is linked to the ‘health’ of US-Beijing relations, according to Beijing.
Following America’s climate tsar John Kerry’s call for China to reduce emissions swiftly, Beijing said Wednesday that climate cooperation with Washington will be contingent on the overall robustness of Sino-US relations.
Tensions between China and the US have risen in recent months, with the two countries trading barbs over Beijing’s human rights record and its handling of the coronavirus at the outset.
Climate change is one of a few subjects on which the two parties have agreed to collaborate.
However, after Kerry urged Beijing to act more quickly on climate change, Zhao Lijian, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, warned that deteriorating Sino-US relations could jeopardize environmental cooperation.
“I want to emphasize that the general health of Sino-US ties is closely tied to the cooperation between China and the United States in certain fields,” Zhao said during a press conference on Wednesday.
“The United States should not arbitrarily interfere in China’s domestic affairs to the damage of China’s interests while seeking China’s cooperation and understanding in bilateral and global issues.”
Kerry said on Monday that the only way to break free from the world’s existing mutual suicide pact was for Chinese officials to ensure emissions peak before the goal deadline of 2030.
During a policy speech in London, he stated that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius was “essentially impossible” without “sufficient reductions by China.”
Kerry visited Shanghai in April, despite tensions on other fronts, in the hopes of collaborating on climate change.
Washington has irritated China in recent days by issuing a warning about economic risks in Hong Kong as a result of Beijing’s crackdown on freedoms, only days after the US Senate decided to prohibit items from the politically sensitive region of Xinjiang due to reports of forced labor.