Details of the meeting were initially unknown. Kerry has been in Beijing since Sunday. He is the third senior US politician to visit China in just a few weeks, after Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The trip is planned until Wednesday.
Rising tensions between the two rival powers prompted China to temporarily suspend regular climate talks with Washington last August. This was in protest at the visit of then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. Other points of contention between Beijing and Washington include trade issues, Chinese support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his war of aggression against Ukraine, and China’s territorial claims in the South and East China Seas.
Kerry’s visit was “another sign that both sides are trying to stop the downward spiral in relations,” said an editorial in the Chinese state newspaper China Daily ahead of the US politician’s arrival. Since China and the USA are the two largest emitters of climate-damaging greenhouse gases, they also have a “special responsibility”.