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US Elections 2020: US-China tensions will remain even if Biden joins Paris climate pact, say observers

News Agencies | Updated on: 6 November 2020, 8:34 IST

Chinese observers say that Washington and Beijing have more challenges to overcome even if they work together on the climate change issue, even as US Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has said that he will immediately rejoin the Paris climate pact if elected as the president.

Even though the relationship between the US and China might improve on the climate change issue if Biden fulfills his promise, Shi Yinhong, an expert on US affairs at Renmin University in Beijing, stated that both sides would have other challenges to deal with, reports Echo Xie for South China Morning Post.

"China and the US could seek cooperation on areas such as climate change, non-proliferation, global health, and civilian cybersecurity in principle, but the results would be limited," he said.

Li Shuo, a senior global policy adviser for Greenpeace East Asia in Beijing, said that even though there were uncertainties about how both countries might work together on climate change, it was unlikely they would be able to rekindle the relationship they had in 2015.

"The variables include how the US designs its China policy and what are their priorities...But the situation is different from 2015 and that close cooperation model will be hard to copy," SCMP quoted Shuo.

Li further opined that if Biden did rejoin the pact, the US would have to submit its nationally determined contributions, which are its individual climate plans, in 2021, which could be challenging because of the 'scale of damage caused by the Trump administration over the past four years'.

"We shouldn't think we can finally take a breath as the tense relationship and confrontation between China and the Trump administration are paused....We should not be too optimistic," said Pang Zhongying, a professor of international relations at Ocean University.
Biden had made the pledge on Twitter on Wednesday, the day the US formally left the accord reached in the French capital in 2015.

"Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it," he said.

The deal, involving almost 200 countries, aims to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels this century while pursuing ways to reduce it to 1.5 degrees, according to SCMP.


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First published: 6 November 2020, 8:26 IST