China says it will discuss climate with US

·2-min read

China says it has agreed with the US to look into climate change and a handful of other issues, in a sign of small but possible progress after testy talks between the two powers.

The official Xinhua News Agency said that following talks in Alaska, China and the US had decided to set up a working group on climate change and hold talks "to facilitate activities of ... diplomatic and consular missions" and on issues related to each other's journalists.

The two countries feuded over journalist visas and consulates during the Trump administration, and climate change is seen as one area where they may be able to cooperate.

Senior US administration officials held their first face-to-face meeting with their Chinese counterparts in Alaska since Joe Biden took office earlier this year.

The talks opened with tense and extended exchanges in front of television cameras, before they retreated behind closed doors.

The two countries are at odds over a range of issues from trade to human rights in Tibet, Hong Kong and China's western Xinjiang region, as well as Taiwan, China's assertiveness in the South China Sea and the coronavirus pandemic.

"The US side should not underestimate China's determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests," Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Chinese media after the meeting.

The Biden administration has yet to signal whether it will back away from the hardline stances taken under president Donald Trump.

The Xinhua report did not provide any details on the climate change working group, other than to say both countries were committed to enhancing communication and cooperation in the field.

It also said the the two sides discussed adjusting COVID-19 travel and visa policies and reciprocal arrangements for vaccination of their diplomats.

While the report said both countries agreed to hold talks on consular missions and journalists, it did not mention the previous disputes.

The US ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston last year, and China responded by closing he U.S. consulate in the city of Chengdu.

Chinese journalists in the US and foreign journalists working for US media in China are now being granted only three-month stays, adding uncertainty to their work, though those stays have been generally renewed.