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California Gov. Newsom meets Chinese President Xi in Beijing

California Gov. Gavin Newsom as the U.S. grapples with rising tensions with the world’s second-largest economy and the Democratic governor seeks to navigate a difficult diplomatic landscape with a visit aimed at boosting climate cooperation. spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday.

Top Chinese diplomats attended the meeting at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing. announced plans to visit Washington Thursday and weeks before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in San Francisco. Where President Biden could meet with President Xi – Suggests that both parties may be able to make efforts to improve their chilly relationship.

It is Newsom’s second meeting with a foreign government leader in less than a week, after he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Friday, an unusual move for a governor with no authority over world affairs. This marked his foray into international affairs. Newsom has repeatedly said he is not planning to run for president, but his sudden pivot to international diplomacy gives him experience that will help him make future runs for high office. be able to.

Chinese officials tightly control media access in Beijing, and American reporters were not allowed into the meeting between Newsom and Xi.

Speaking to reporters afterward, Newsom spoke with Xi about climate change, trade, tourism and the fentanyl crisis plaguing the United States, and said he looked forward to the two countries working together in these areas.

Regarding fentanyl, Newsom said the two men discussed so-called precursor chemicals that flow through the black market from China to Mexico and into the United States as deadly drugs.

“We talked about the importance of this issue and how it plays a major role as the leading cause of death for 18- to 49-year-olds in the United States,” Newsom said. “Every day, more than one person is killed in San Francisco.”

He said fentanyl is an issue that “should scare parents everywhere” because so many young people are dying from taking pills they didn’t know contained fentanyl.

“This is a big, big problem,” Newsom said.

Prior to his meeting with Xi, Newsom met with three other Chinese officials. American media was allowed to cover only a few minutes of each meeting, as Newsom and Chinese officials gave introductory remarks.

California Governor Gavin Newsom shook hands with China’s National Development and Reform Commission Chairman Zheng Shanjie in Beijing on Wednesday.

(Ng Han Guan/AP)

Newsom has spoken with them on issues including human rights abuses in Hong Kong, his desire for a two-state solution for Israel and his desire for China to release David Lin, a California resident who has been detained in China since 2006. He said he had discussed it.

“I hope David Linn comes back. I hope he gets released,” Newsom said. “He is 67 years old and a religious man, but he is currently in custody. …Based on what I know, humbly, but to the best of my knowledge, he should be released.” .”

Newsom said he sees discussions about cooperation to fight climate change as a way to open the door to a broader relationship between the U.S. and China, saying, “We all breathe the same air.” It pointed out.

A tense geopolitical situation looms over Newsom’s voyage, which promotes cooperation on climate-friendly technologies such as electric vehicles and wind energy. Relations between the United States and China were already strained before war broke out between Israel and Hamas this month, creating another potential wedge between the world’s two superpowers.

China and Russia announced Last week, the two countries announced their intention to work together to create an alliance that could counter U.S. support for Israel.of The Department of Defense recently reported China is building up its nuclear arsenal faster than previously predicted, and is probably studying Russia’s war in Ukraine to see how the conflict over Taiwan will play out. China immediately responded that the report was false. blew up the usa. Citing the United States’ recent actions in support of Israel and Ukraine, it condemned them as the world’s “greatest destroyer of regional peace and stability.”

All of this stems from disagreements between the United States and China over trade, human rights, and the militarization of the South China Sea. In February, US shoots down Chinese balloon The plane flew over a highly classified military facility. In August, Biden signed the following executive order: Prevent and regulate US investment in Chinese technology companies.

Newsom, who said he urged President Xi to come to San Francisco to attend next month’s APEC meeting, will be the first U.S. governor to visit China since 2019. Susan Shirk, a political scientist at the University of California, said his visit could help improve relations between the two countries. San Diego.

“Currently, relations between the United States and China are on the decline. It is indeed very dangerous, and unless policymakers talk to each other, further deterioration of relations, and even the risk of war, cannot be prevented. ” said Shirk.

“So diplomacy is really important.”

Newsom began his day in Beijing on Wednesday by signing a clean energy agreement with leaders of the National Development and Reform Commission, which oversees China’s economic development plans. He then met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is visiting Washington this week. Meeting with US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.

Mr. Newsom’s meeting with Vice President Han Jung showed the personal side of a political relationship built over time. Han recalled meeting Newsom about 20 years ago, when he was mayor of Shanghai and Newsom was mayor of San Francisco. As sister cities, San Francisco and Shanghai have developed long-standing economic and cultural exchanges, which Han called “a good example of Sino-American subnational cooperation.”

China-US relations are “the most important bilateral relationship and national-level cooperation in the world” [plays] “It is an essential part of promoting the healthy and steady development of China-US relations,” he said through an interpreter.

“Relations at the national level must also include relations between countries, between sectors of society and the business community. Only then can relations be returned to the right path of development.”

In his speech to the vice president, Newsom paid tribute to the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who, when he was mayor of San Francisco in the 1980s, supported her efforts to establish a sister city relationship with Shanghai. He recalled the efforts of

“I could not be more impressed with how indelible her memory and guidance will be in maintaining our relationship with China,” Newsom said. “The foundation that has been laid reminds us how important it is to continue to move forward with this spirit that unites us here today.”

Shirk said there are risks for U.S. politicians to engage with Chinese officials. But it’s also beneficial, she said.

“Even after Xi Jinping’s death, China will continue to be there forever,” she said. “So maintaining relationships on a person-to-person level is a very good thing.”

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