China and the US progress on talks in Washington aimed at combating climate change

The two leaders also struck a preliminary deal to outlaw cyber-espionage

David Usborne
Friday 25 September 2015 19:53 BST
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President Barack Obama (R) and President of China Xi Jinping (L) hold a joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, DC, USA, 25 September 2015
President Barack Obama (R) and President of China Xi Jinping (L) hold a joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, DC, USA, 25 September 2015 (EPA)

The US and China declared a common vision for combating climate change at a formal summit in Washington DC between their presidents, Xi Jinping and Barack Obama. The two leaders also struck a preliminary deal to outlaw cyber-espionage.

Mr Obama welcomed an announcement by China that it intends to launch a national carbon trading system by 2017, a potentially big step towards curbing fossil fuel emissions ahead of the global summit on climate change in Paris.

A landmark agreement signed last year by the US and China – the world’s two most significant polluters – to accelerate efforts to reduce emissions is a bright spot in the relationship. On 25 September, China said it would spend $3.1bn (£2bn) to help to developing countries to similarly slow emissions.

President Xi came to Washington at a time of obvious tensions over his stewardship of China’s economy, human rights, recent allegations of theft of data by Chinese hackers from US corporations – denied by China – as well as the reclamation of land by China in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. But Mr Obama reiterated that the US “welcome the rise of a China that is peaceful, stable, prosperous and a responsible player in global affairs… even as we address disagreements candidly and constructively”.

Mr Obama said that he and Mr Xi had reached a “common understanding” on stopping cyber aggression by either side. “I indicated that it has to stop,” he said, though he also urged further co-operation. “This is progress, but I have to insist that our work is not yet done.”

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