US climate envoy Kerry meets China's VP, urges China to 'raise ambition'

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By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. climate envoy John Kerry met Chinese Vice President Han Zheng in New York City on Tuesday, and emphasized the need for China to "raise ambition" in efforts to accelerate decarbonization and reduce emissions of methane, the State Department said.

THE TAKE

Kerry recently visited China and met his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua, with the two of them discussing policy measures and progress on actions both countries have taken to address climate change.

Kerry has been among a number of top U.S. officials from the administration of President Joe Biden to have visited China in recent months. Others who have made the visits include Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

KEY QUOTES

"Secretary Kerry reiterated the urgency of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which will require ambitious action by the United States and the PRC (China)," the State Department said in a statement on Tuesday after Kerry met Han.

"He also emphasized the need for the PRC to raise ambition in efforts to, among other things, accelerate decarbonization and reduce emissions of super pollutants like methane."

CONTEXT

* Kerry met China's vice president on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday a day after Blinken met Han, with the two sides agreeing to maintain open lines of communication.

* The talks could help set the stage for a meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year.

* Relations between the world's two largest economies have been strained of late due to a number of issues including Taiwan, the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, allegations of spying and trade tariffs, among others.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lincoln Feast)