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Secretary Blinken expresses alarm at U.S. lagging behind in renewable energy

BS-NTV’s evening news program “Shinso News” reported on U.S.-China relations on climate change, highlighting Secretary of State Blinken’s recent speech in Maryland in which he said: “It is difficult to imagine the U.S. winning the long-term strategic competition with China if we cannot win the renewable energy revolution. Right now, we are falling behind.” LDP Foreign Affairs Division chief Masahisa Sato, who appeared on the program as a guest commentator, said that although it has been reported that the U.S. and China will be able to work together on the issue of climate even though they are in conflict over the issues of security, human rights, economy, and technology, the present situation doesn’t warrant such optimism, adding that the two nations are also competing for supremacy in the area of climate change.


The program also took up Special Envoy Kerry’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua in Shanghai. Sato said that while the joint statement does not have much content, it was significant for the U.S. to demonstrate to the world that the Biden administration is different from the Trump administration, which decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. He added that the joint statement did not say whether President Xi will attend the upcoming climate change summit. The program took note of the fact that neither President Xi nor Premier Li met with Special Envoy Kerry during his visit to Shanghai. Sato also noted that the joint statement was released only after Kerry left Shanghai for South Korea, conjecturing that there must have been tough behind-the-scene negotiations between the two nations over who will take the lead in establishing rules on climate change. Sato said China is currently in a competitive position in materials, resources, and market related to climate change. Noting that almost half of the world’s supply of solar-grade polysilicon comes from Xinjiang, he added that the issue of climate change is also linked to the human rights issue in Xinjiang. Sato said that the two nations have extremely tough negotiations ahead of them. Sato also said it is important for the U.S. to take the lead in climate change since President Biden has pledged to invest $2 trillion in renewable energy over the next four years and needs congressional approval for it. He also said the administration needs to create jobs through renewable energy ahead of the mid-term elections next year.


The program also reported on a speech delivered by President Xi at the Boao Forum. Sato said China’s reaction to the U.S.-Japan summit was relatively mild, adding that President Xi is focusing more on securing the support of developing nations through such venues as the Boao Forum by promoting a green “One Belt One Road” initiative. 

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