An unofficial delegation is simultaneously visiting Taiwan drawing a sharp response from China.
In the first significant visit by an official of the Biden administration to China, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry arrived in Shanghai for talks with senior Chinese officials.
Mr. Kerry will meet China’s top climate official, Xie Zhenhua, and may also meet with other senior officials including Politburo member and top diplomat Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
The first visit from the new administration in Washington follows last month’s dialogue in Alaska, where officials from both sides traded barbs publicly in an unusual exchange played out in front of the cameras.
Despite that beginning, the visit underlines that the Biden administration does plan to seek a meeting ground with China on some issues, including climate change as well as Iran and North Korea.
The U.S. State Department said the visit was aimed at discussing “raising global climate ambition ahead of President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate” which will be held virtually on April 22 and 23, to which 40 world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, have been invited. The climate summit will push for an agreement to keep the 1.5 degrees Celsius-global warming limit “within reach”.
Just as Mr. Kerry landed in Shanghai, the White House also announced an “unofficial delegation” to Taiwan comprising former senator Chris Dodd and former deputy Secretaries of State Richard Armitage and Jim Steinberg, to send “an important signal about the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and its democracy”.
That brought a sharp response from China, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian saying on Friday “the Taiwan question bears on China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and core interests.”
“The U.S. should fully grasp the highly sensitive nature of the Taiwan question, earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, prudently handle Taiwan-related issues,” he said, “and refrain from sending any wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces to avoid serious damage to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as well as China-U.S. coordination and cooperation in key areas.”