“Our hope is that we will be able to deal with China, yes,” Kerry told reporters during a visit to the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi, on Saturday.
“President Biden made it clear and I made it clear: none of the other issues we have with China – and they do exist – will be held hostage or involved in an exchange for what we need to do about the climate.”
Relations between China and the United States have been strained in recent years by differences over trade, China’s treatment of the Uighur minority and also over Chinese actions on Taiwan and Hong Kong.
China has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2060, and the government of US President Joe Biden is expected to announce a new goal to reduce emissions at a global climate summit on April 22.
Kerry will attend Abu Dhabi climate meetings for the Middle East and North Africa on Sunday.
The UAE said the dialogue would focus on national and regional preparations ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow next November.
Kerry said countries would discuss how to reduce dependence on coal and also how to “increase ambitions” about climate change ahead of the November conference.
“I think the next generations are screaming to keep our promise,” he added.
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