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China suspends climate talks with US

China”s suspension of climate change talks with the United States is an understandable reaction when China’s core interests were breached and the political trust between the two nations was jeopardized by the visit of Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, to Taiwan.

The visit has undermined such trust, which is a fundamental premise of any cooperation between the two countries, a senior climate expert said.

Suspending China-US talks on climate change is one of the eight countermeasures in response to Pelosi’s visit, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday. The other countermeasures are mainly related to military and judicial communication.

Responding to the countermeasures, US Special Presidential Climate Envoy John Kerry said in a statement on Friday that the suspension is “disappointing”.

“Suspending cooperation doesn’t punish the United States – it punishes the world, particularly the developing world,” said Kerry, who worked as secretary of state under the Barack Obama administration when Sino-US climate cooperation underwent a honeymoon period.

When Obama was US president, the two countries played key roles in helping the world reach the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

However, an expert from a non-profit international organization said the US is actually to blame for the disappointing situation.

“There is a fundamental premise for countries to cooperate. They should at least have political trust with each other,” said the expert, who has been following China-US climate cooperation for a long time.

“It’s unimaginable to see two nations still cooperate when they have become enemies with no political trust in each other,” he said.

Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has jeopardized the political trust. As a ripple effect, it’s inevitable that cooperation in various sectors will be negatively affected, he stressed.

Rebuking Kerry’s statement as a way to “sow discord”, he said: “Surely, I couldn’t agree with him.”

China has not stop participating in multilateral climate process. The country will still proactively take part in the process and shoulder up its responsibility as a party to international climate treaties, he said.

China has been making consistent efforts to make the Belt and Road Initiative greener and carry out South-South cooperation on climate change, he said. The suspension will not affect the country’s domestic efforts to forge ahead with its climate targets.

If China and the US can carry out climate cooperation, there will be no doubt that they will make even greater contributions to global climate process. This cannot happen without a steady China-US relationship, he stressed.

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