John Kerry Complains That China Won’t Talk To Him Anymore After Spy Balloon Incident

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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Biden administration climate czar John Kerry told Axios his discussions with China about climate change have stalled due to increased tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Kerry lamented that the climate issue has gotten “mixed up” with other problems facing the two countries, from conflict in the Taiwan Strait to spy balloons. He said that joint efforts on the China issue have taken a backseat in recent months.

“Regrettably, in the last year … what was not supposed to happen has happened,” Kerry told Axios during an interview at the CERAWeek by S&P Global conference. “Which is the climate issue has gotten mixed up into all the other tensions that exist between our countries.”

The Biden administration has consistently stated that combatting climate change is at the top of its list of issues to work with China on. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) doesn’t seem to be taking it quite as seriously, as it’s rapidly approving the construction of new coal plants.

Kerry told Axios that he last spoke with China’s special climate envoy Xie Zhenhua about a month ago. He said Xie has been ill recently, but also acknowledged discussions have slowed. (RELATED: China To Import Record Amounts Of Russian Oil In Defiance Of US-Led Sanctions)

Tensions between the two country have heightened since then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August. Last month, the discovery of a Chinese spy balloon over U.S. airspace prompted the Biden administration to cancel Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s planned trip to Beijing. Monday, in a rare direct rebuke, Chinese President Xi Jinping accused the United States of trying to suppress and contain China.