Despite the tense state of US-China ties, California Governor Gavin Newsom was given a cordial welcome by other top leaders in China before meeting with President Xi Jinping on Wednesday.
Newsom Visits China For Climate Change Collaboration
The governor is in China for a week to promote climate cooperation. After years of improving US-China relations, California Governor Newsom’s routine governorship trip is getting attention. “I’m here in the expectation, as you suggest, of turning the page, of renewing our friendship, and re-engaging on foundational and fundamental issues that will determine our collective faith in the future,” Newsom said in a brief opening remark before meeting with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi. California Governor Newsom was in China to encourage climate change collaboration, but Chinese officials used welcome statements before closed-door sessions to discuss US-China relations. Wang is scheduled to arrive in the United States on Thursday.
At a news conference, California Governor Newsom claimed he and Xi discussed how to “accelerate our progress on climate in meaningful and substantive ways,” but did not provide details. Newsom said they also discussed fentanyl, the leading U.S. killer of youth, and China’s assistance in combatting precursor chemical transnational shipping. China has not confirmed that Xi will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco next month to meet with President Joe Biden.
California Governor Remains His Climate Change Cooperation
California Governor Newsom visits Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, and Jiangsu. Speaking at Hong Kong University on Monday, he pledged to maintain climate change cooperation regardless of the U.S. presidential election. He said he discussed Taiwan, a Beijing red line, and human rights with Wang. China claims the self-ruled island territorially. California Governor Newsom stated, “I expressed my support for the One-China policy… as well as our desire not to see independence,” referring to the U.S. policy that acknowledges the Communist Party as China’s leader. Although it does not recognize Taiwan, the U.S. is its main unofficial ally.
Wang, the Communist Party’s foreign affairs chief, said he understands Newsom’s trip was criticized but that he liked it. “But I think time and facts will certainly prove that your visit to China is in line with Californians’ wishes, American interests, and global expectations.” Vice President Han Zheng greeted Newsom Wednesday with a smile and called him an “old friend.” Han was on the Politburo Standing Committee, a party elite. “The China-U.S. relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and sub-national cooperation is essential to its healthy growth,” Han added. I’m convinced your weeklong trip will boost China-U.S. relations.
The governor also met with China’s National Development and Reform Commission chief, a Cabinet-level economic policy organization. They signed an agreement to improve environmental cooperation. California governors, who oversee the world’s largest economy, have long collaborated with China on climate change. Liberal Jerry Brown and conservative Arnold Schwarzenegger also visited China to share air pollution-reduction tips. Brown founded the Berkeley-based California-China Climate Institute after leaving office.