China, US agree to cooperate on climate change


China and the US have decided to establish a joint working group on climate change, according to a statement by the Chinese delegation which took part in high-level talks in Anchorage, Alaska.

In a statement on Saturday, the delegation said that both countries are committed to enhancing communication and cooperation on the issue, Xinhua news agency reported.

The high-level strategic dialogue marked the first face-to-face talks between the two sides since American President Joe Biden took office in January.

The two-day dialogue were also the first high-level contact between the two countries after their heads of state spoke on the phone on the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

The meeting was attended by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan from the US side, while the Chinese side was represented by member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

After the meeting ended on Friday, Yang said that although the dialogue was candid, constructive and helpful, some important differences still remained between the two sides.

Ahead of the meeting with the Chinese diplomats, Biden’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki had said the focus would be on “having a frank discussion, raising issues where we have concerns, and of course, looking for ways and places where we can work together”.

Under former President Donald Trump’s administration, ties between China and the US reached their lowest level since diplomatic relations were established in 1979.

It had levied tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods, to which Beijing also responded with duties of its own.

In January 2020, the countries reached a phase one agreement on trade that called for increased Chinese purchases of US goods and greater access to the Chinese financial market.

However, bilateral tensions again increased in the months since, amid the coronavirus pandemic after the Trump administration directly blamed China for the global crisis.