Gov. Gavin Newsom Meets With Chinese President Xi Jinping – On Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom engaged in a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, signaling a warming of U.S.-China relations amid escalating global tensions. Governor Newsom’s visit to China this week primarily revolved around climate change, aligning with California’s pioneering efforts to combat emissions on a national scale.
His emphasis on utilizing climate change and subnational collaboration as diplomatic channels between the United States and China appears to have yielded positive results. This visit is expected to lay the groundwork for a meeting between President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping at the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in San Francisco, which happens to be Newsom’s hometown.
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Following Xi’s reception of Secretary of State Antony Blinken in June and a group of senators earlier this month, his meeting with Newsom serves as the most recent indication of his willingness to engage in discussions. Furthermore, on Monday, Blinken also announced his intention to host Wang Yi, China’s chief diplomat, in Washington on Thursday.
The timing of the journey has been notably sensitive, as Newsom arrived directly from discussions with war survivors and leaders in Israel, a nation to which President Joe Biden has promised military assistance during the conflict in Gaza. China has called for a cease-fire and the pursuit of a two-state solution.
The escalating tensions between the United States and China were evident in the breakdown of national-level climate negotiations last February, and this was further underscored when John Kerry, in July, was met with resistance from Xi during their meetings, ultimately failing to secure a new climate agreement with his Chinese counterpart. In a speech the same week Kerry was in China, Xi said China will follow its own path to achieve its emission reduction goals, “and will never be influenced by others.”
During his visits to Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and now Beijing this week, Newsom, following the footsteps of former California Governor Jerry Brown, has consistently stressed the significance of cooperation and advancement in addressing climate change, especially given that both the United States and China are the world’s leading polluters.
His efforts have revolved around identifying common ground for climate policy and technology exchange between California and China, while purposefully avoiding contentious topics that have caused friction between the two countries, such as trade disputes, China’s military stance regarding Taiwan, and its alignment with Russia in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.