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China, US to work on climate, Beijing says after spiteful meeting

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China and the United States will set up a joint climate change task force, state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua said in a potentially positive conclusion to what was a high-level meeting unusually resentful.

FILE PHOTO: Chinese and American flags fly in front of an American company building in Beijing, China, January 21, 2021. REUTERS / Tingshu Wang

Leading Chinese and U.S. diplomats, at their first meeting of Joe Bidens’ presidency on Thursday and Friday, publicly berated each other for their policies at the start of what Washington called direct and harsh talks in Alaska.

But the Chinese delegation said after the meeting that the two sides are determined to improve communication and cooperation in the area of ​​climate change, Xinhua said on Saturday.

They would also hold talks to facilitate the activities of diplomats and consular missions, as well as issues related to media journalists in a spirit of reciprocity and mutual benefit, according to the report.

The US Embassy in Beijing did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Sunday.

Last year, as tensions between Beijing and Washington escalated dramatically, the two countries expelled journalists and the United States closed the Chinese consulate in Houston, prompting China to close the US consulate in Chengdu.

The talks in Anchorage, led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi, got off to a fiery start, in front of television cameras, and did not appear to result in diplomatic advances.

But the Chinese delegation said the two sides share the hope of continuing this kind of high-level strategic communication, Xinhua reported.

The two sides also agreed that they … will maintain dialogue and communication, conduct mutually beneficial cooperation, avoid misunderstandings and errors of judgment, as well as conflicts and confrontations, in order to promote healthy and steady development Sino-US relations.

China and the United States also discussed adjusting travel and visa policies according to the coronavirus pandemic situation, and gradually promoting the normalization of personnel exchanges between China and the states. -United, according to the report.

After the meetings, Yang told Chinese television CGTN that the discussions had been constructive and beneficial, but of course there are still differences.

Reporting by Tony Munroe; Edited by William Mallard

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