China Says it Wants to Bolster Climate Cooperation With US as California Gov. Newsom Visits Beijing

BANGKOK (AP) -- China's Environment Minister Huang Runqiu said Thursday his country wants to strengthen cooperation with the United States to combat climate change, as he met in Beijing with California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Newsom is on a weeklong tour of China where he is pushing for climate cooperation. His trip as governor, once considered routine, is drawing attention as it comes after years of heightening tensions between the U.S. and China.

The climate is one of the few issues where the U.S. and China have agreed to work together. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated in recent years over trade practices, tariff barriers, human rights abuses and the fate of Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China claims as its own territory.

Huang said Thursday that his ministry would continue to carry out agreements under a memorandum of understanding signed last year between China and California "in carbon market investment, climate adaptation, environment law implementation and human-to-human exchange to strengthen cooperation and have a positive effect on China-US. environmental cooperation."

California has been a leader in regulating air pollution and other climate-related issues, Newsom said in opening remarks Thursday.

"But we recognize the limits of subnational leadership. We need more partners. And I'm here in that light and in that spirit of partnership and also humility, recognizing we don't have all the answers," the California governor said.

Both sides spoke about a rise in extreme weather in their countries.

California and China issued a declaration on Wednesday pledging to work together to combat climate change, including in offshore wind, advanced energy storage technologies and zero-emission vehicles, according to the text.

Newsom was greeted in Beijing with a warmth and friendliness rarely seen between U.S. and Chinese officials. On Wednesday, he met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, as well as other senior leaders including top diplomat Wang Yi and Vice President Han Zheng.

Newsom has highlighted climate as an area where both sides needed to cooperate, as it concerns the survival and future of the human population.

Governors of California, which has an economy larger than most countries, have a long history of climate collaboration with China. Democrat Jerry Brown and Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger also traveled there to swap knowledge on reducing air pollution and emissions. Brown also met Xi Jinping in 2017.