U.S. Senator John Kerry said Thursday that the Obama administration would send a negotiating team on climate change to China in the next two weeks or so.
The U.S. president's top science advisor, John Holdren, and the designated negotiator for climate change, Todd Stern, would meet with Chinese officials, Kerry, who is also chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, told a press briefing.
They would have an opportunity to flesh out proposals, said Kerry. "I can guarantee you there will be a very sincere and committed effort by the United States to try to do exactly that."
At the invitation of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, Kerry kicked off his China visit on May 23.
Kerry said the principal focus of his trip over the last week was to encourage cooperation on global climate change and work to ensure a successful outcome for the Copenhagen meeting. A United Nations meeting on climate change is to be held in that Danish city at the end of this year.
Kerry said he had been involved with the issue of climate change for about 20 years and met with Chinese delegations in various locations.
"I will say unequivocally that this has been the most constructive and most productive discussions that we have ever had ... with Chinese officials in conjunction with the lead-up work that minister Xie has done in his meeting ... in Washington, which has been very constructive and helpful to lead to this," said Kerry.
Xie Zhenhua, vice minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission, the top economic planning agency, attended a preparatory session for the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in Washington on April 27 and 28.
China recognized the need to address climate change now as a critical component of its sustainable development and modernization strategy, said Kerry.
Kerry further noted that both countries had agreed to pursue immediate opportunities for bilateral cooperation on clean energy.
Kerry expressed confidence about the possibility of a successful outcome in Copenhagen, saying: "I was pleased to hear the leadership of China [commit to] a willingness to cooperate in new ways to try to meet these challenges."
"Action to address climate change advances the economic recovery and national security goals of both the United States and China," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency May 29, 2009)