California Gov. Gavin Newsom met with President Xi Jinping and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials in Beijing on Wednesday in a bid to establish stronger ties to combat climate change.
Newsom met with Xi to discuss how the U.S. and China could work more closely on addressing the “climate crisis” as well as California’s international role as a partner to Beijing, according to a statement from his office. Newsom has made the climate crisis a priority during his trip and briefly “touched on… other issues” such as human rights abuses in Xinjiang and China’s role in the fentanyl crisis in meetings with CCP officials.
China is the world’s largest polluter, emitting roughly 12.7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually and burning more coal than the rest of the world combined, according to the New York Times. Conversely, the U.S. emits roughly 5.9 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually and has shifted away from coal-powered energy.
“The only way we can solve the climate crisis is to continue our long-standing cooperation with China,” Newsom said on Wednesday. “As two of the world’s largest economies, the work we do together is felt in countless communities on both sides of the Pacific.”
“Addressing climate change can be the bridge we’ve been missing,” Newsom said. “I made it clear to Chinese leaders that California will remain a stable, strong, and reliable partner, particularly on low-carbon, green growth.”
Newsom also met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Vice Premier Han Xheng on Wednesday and signed a new climate Memorandum of Understanding with National Development and Reform Commission Chairman Zheng Shanjie, according to the statement. During his meetings, Newsom urged CCP officials to move China away from fossil fuels and work to meet agreed-upon goals of carbon neutrality while underscoring California’s role as a pace-setter in the U.S. for renewable energy.
Newsom and CCP officials also discussed how to bolster China and California’s $166 billion bilateral trade deal, create “thousands of jobs” and increase tourism, according to the statement.
“Despite major differences, we share our humanity – our desire to feel protected, connected and respected is universal – and that humanity is what should drive us to work together to stop the greatest existential threat our planet has ever known,” Newsom said.
Chinese-state media praised Newsom’s diplomacy as “sincere and warm” as opposed to other U.S. lawmakers whom the Chinese people “have distrust toward,” according to state-run Global Times. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Friday that China welcomed Newsom and hoped his visit would “produce good results.”
Newsom’s office and China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jake Smith on October 25, 2023