US will work with China on climate despite other differences: Kerry

Washington (AFP) –


The United States will try to keep climate negotiations with China separate from other disagreements affecting the two countries' ties, John Kerry said Wednesday.

The former secretary of state, who is now President Joe Biden's climate envoy, stressed that while it isn't possible for the US to stem rising global temperatures alone, developing an aggressive domestic policy would make an "enormous difference."

"Now with respect to China, obviously we have serious differences with China, on some very, very, important issues," he continued.

"The issues of theft of intellectual property and access to market, the South China Sea -- I mean run the list, we all know them.

"Those issues will never be traded for anything that has to do with climate, that's not going to happen. But climate is a critical standalone issue that we have to deal on."

He added that China was responsible for 30 percent of the world's emissions and the US for 15 percent.

"So it's urgent that we find a way to compartmentalize to move forward," he said.

China has called for a reset in relations with Biden's administration after a corrosive period of diplomacy under Donald Trump, who harangued Beijing over trade, rights, the origins of Covid-19, tech and defense supremacy.

Biden has signaled he will remain tough on the superpower rival, but soften the tone and commit to international cooperation after Trump's divisive "America First" approach.