Relations between the United States and China has teetered on the brink of collapse over the tenure of the last man to sit behind the Resolute Desk, and the start of Biden’s time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue didn’t exactly get off to the best start with the recent spat between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his counterpart Chinese Communist Party foreign affairs chief Yang Jiechi at a conference in Alaska, all of which played out live at the press conference that opened the event.
The clash involving the two diplomats happened at the first high-level in-person talks between the Chinese Communist Party and the Biden Administration and may have sown many seeds of doubt and mistrust between the two. Thankfully, a second bite of the proverbial cherry might bear better fruit as this time it won’t be administration staff sitting across the table from one another, but the leaders of both nations themselves.
The news comes as the U.S.-led climate change summit that is being held this week will see China’s President Xi Jinping in attendance at the invitation of President Joe Biden, making this the first meeting between the two leaders since the advent of the new U.S. administration. President Xi Jinping won’t be the only high profile world leader to take part in the two-day virtual summit, as Biden has extended the invitation to dozens of leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin being another notable guest.
Biden is not only seeking to revive a U.S.-convened forum of the world’s major economies on climate but to repair the damage caused by our withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Agreement on cutting global carbon emissions, a withdrawal the Biden administration has thankfully rescinded. He also announced his administration’s goal to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 through implementing a $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan and focusing on building a more green infrastructure.
The Biden administration also hopes that by hosting such a forum, it may encourage other countries to use this international platform to announce their own countries’ tougher emission targets or other commitments, ahead of November’s U.N. global climate talks in Glasgow. After a four year presidency that not only did little to combat climate change but literally accused the Chinese of creating the concept of global warming as a way to undermine U.S. manufacturing and make it non-competitive.
Thankfully, with one of Biden’s pledges being to improve infrastructure, he certainly has one or two bridges to build on the international stage. Having a president who listens to scientists back in office means that we have renewed hope for a cleaner and greener future for not just ourselves, but the many generations that follow.