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BEIJING: China and the United States could use climate cooperation to redefine their troubled diplomatic relationship and lead the way in tackling global warming, US climate envoy John Kerry told China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on Tuesday.

Kerry told Wang at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People that talks could provide a fresh start for the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas emitters, which have been mired in disputes over Taiwan and trade.

“Our hope is that this can be the beginning of a new definition of cooperation and capacity to resolve differences between us,” Kerry said in a meeting room filled with large bouquets of flowers in China’s cavernous legislative building.

“We are very hopeful that this can be the beginning not just of a conversation between you and me and us on the climate track but that we can begin to change the broader relationship,” Kerry told Wang.

Wang described Kerry as “my old friend”, saying they have “worked together to solve a series of problems between both sides”.

Kerry also referred to their previous work together, including on the Iran nuclear talks.

Kerry met with his counterpart Xie Zhenhua for nearly 12 hours at the Beijing Hotel on Monday. State Department officials declined to comment on the discussions.

US envoy Kerry heads to China to restart climate talks

Wang praised Kerry and Xie for their “hard work” throughout the talks.

Kerry’s third visit to China as US climate envoy marks the formal resumption in top-level climate diplomacy between the two countries.

The former Secretary of State is the third top US official to visit Beijing in the past month.

While Kerry has sought to ring-fence climate issues from wider diplomatic disputes, Wang said during Kerry’s previous visit to China in 2021 that climate could not be separated from broader concerns.

“From experience, if we work at it we can find the path again in ways that resolve these challenges,” Kerry said on Tuesday.

“The world is really looking to us for that leadership, particularly on the climate issue.”

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