“There’s not much,” said senior fellow for East Asia at the Lowy Institute, Richard McGregor, of the climate accord.
“But in terms of atmosphere, yes, it’s significant.”
Mr. McGregor noted that the deal would not have been announced without the imprimatur of Mr. Xi and Mr. Biden.
Australian Treasury Secretary Simon Birmingham rejected claims, including by former Australian Ambassador to China Geoff Raby, that any rapprochement between China and the US would further isolate Australia, which remains lurking with Beijing.
“I am very pleased with the agreement and the statement made by the world’s two biggest emitters,” he told Sky News.
“The fact that China has not increased its level of ambition regarding the COP26 discussions and is still sticking to a net zero position by 2060 is something we would like to see change.
“We would like to see and hope that discussions like this between the US and China can move China into a position that Australia and many other countries take in terms of reaching net zero by 2050.”
The agreement comes just over a week after Mr Biden, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson blaming China and Russia for their role in watering down the communiqué at the G20 leaders’ summit in Rome to make it pointless on climate change.
The US-China agreement will cover clean electricity, clean coal, methane emissions, deforestation, carbon capture and storage, and joint work to implement their 2030 emissions reduction targets and implement the 2015 Paris Agreement.
But Mr. Xie reiterated that the deal was based on China’s signature principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities … and national conditions,” which has long been the escape clause for scaling its climate commitments.
Still, Mr Kerry welcomed the fact that China “has embraced science” and “would do anything to accelerate greenhouse gas emissions”.
Nick Mabey, chief executive at environmental think tank E3G, said the statement should help the US and China compromise at COP26, but “the big significance of this is geopolitical”.
“The US and China have indicated that they will end the war of words that has marred the past few days. They will now build climate cooperation bilaterally and in multilateral fora,” Mabey said.
Mr Raby said there were growing signs that Mr Xi was losing his appetite for arguing with the United States and that there would be increased prudence on foreign policy, although there were no signs of a thawing in relations with Australia. .
“There are too many risks” [for China]. You can’t control all the elements that can go horribly wrong if you’re not careful,” said Mr Raby.
“There has been minimal Wolf Warrior diplomacy for months, very few aggressive statements and it is quiet in the South China Sea. What they’re doing with Taiwan, I think they feel they’re being forced to do that because the Americans are taking a much more aggressive stance toward Taiwan.”
Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Ministry praised former Prime Minister Paul Keating’s criticism of Labor and the government’s handling of Sino-Australian relations and reiterated that the current tensions were “wholly caused by the Australian side”.
“For some time now, many visionaries in Australia have been giving objective and rational voices on China-Australia relations and have made useful suggestions for improving bilateral relations, which should be carefully listened to by the Australian government,” a ministry said. of Foreign Affairs. said a spokesperson in response to a question about Mr Keating’s comments.
“Australia needs to correct its erroneous words and actions about China that have been around for a while and do things that can help build mutual trust and practical cooperation.”
Morrison rejected Mr Keating, claiming that his stance mirrored that of the Labor Party, which Labor rejected.
“He is certainly not in line with our government’s policies,” Mr Morrison said of Mr Keating’s view that China was a benign emerging power.
“We have taken a very strong position here in the Indo-Pacific, and we have taken a very strong position to represent Australia’s interests.
“We want to have a positive relationship with countries like China and trade with them. But at the same time, we don’t let ourselves be rushed.”