Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave U.S. climate envoy John Kerry a set of instructions that the United States should follow if the Biden administration seeks Beijing’s cooperation on climate change.

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry is seen on a screen with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a meeting via video link on Sept. 1, 2021. (U.S. Department of State/Handout via Reuters)

Kerry is currently on the second leg of his Asia trip for negotiations on climate action. He first traveled to Japan before arriving in the Chinese port city of Tianjin on Aug. 31 for a three-day visit. He is scheduled to meet with Xie Zhenhua, China’s special envoy for climate change affairs.

On Sept. 1, Kerry and Wang held a virtual meeting to discuss bilateral cooperation on climate change. During the talks, Wang mixed in the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) wider political concerns, and warned Kerry that “China-U.S. climate cooperation cannot be separated from the wider environment of the Sino-U.S. relations,” according to a statement from China’s foreign ministry.

Wang blamed the United States for deteriorating Sino-U.S. relations in recent years and urged America to “stop seeing China as a threat and rival.”

As for how to improve bilateral relations, Wang demanded that Kerry “pay attention to and pro-actively respond to China’s ‘two lists’ and ‘three bottom lines.’”

Wang was referring to the lists and three demands that Beijing handed to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in late July when she visited Tianjin. One of the lists asked the United States to correct its “wrongdoings,” including revoking its sanctions on CCP officials, which were announced by the United States in response to widely reported human rights abuses.

Among its demands, the CCP requires the United States not to “infringe” upon China’s “sovereignty” in the troubled regions of Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong. Many Western governments, including the United States, have called out the CCP for its human rights violations in these three regions, particularly over the detention of more than 1 million Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

Wang had listed the same requirements to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken days earlier, when the two discussed bilateral cooperation on Afghanistan over the phone.

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September 2, 2021