Chinese diplomats relegated Biden climate czar John Kerry to a Zoom conference the same day China joined Taliban leaders in a photo-op to pledge "friendly relations" with the terror group.
Kerry was denied face-to-face interactions with senior Chinese officials such as Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Vice Premier Han Zheng. China instead dispatched a junior-level climate official to meet with the former secretary of state in the city of Tianjin. Kerry’s bungled visit coincided with Beijing's open-arms embrace of Taliban leadership at an in-person visit in Qatar, affirming China’s interest in furthering "friendly relations" to fill the vacuum in Afghanistan left by America's withdrawal.
Kerry met separately with Yi and Zheng over Zoom. The Chinese officials reportedly bristled at Kerry’s suggestions to decouple climate change from other issues fraught with tensions between China and the United States, leaving no immediate results from the meetings. One expert told Voice of America the Taliban received a better welcome than Kerry. The Biden climate czar, however, said the meetings proved "very constructive and detailed," but deferred to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Joe Biden to set a timetable for further talks with the Chinese.
The White House did not return a request for comment about their plans for future climate talks with Beijing. The State Department declined to comment.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) told the Washington Free Beacon that Beijing is thriving due to Kerry's debacle and the Biden administration's broader failures in dealing with China.
"The Chinese Communist Party is having a field day with Joe Biden’s weakness and naïveté," Cruz said. "The President sent John Kerry to Beijing to do what he does best, which is make deals with the Chinese Communist Party to get American technology and sanctions relief. Even then, the Chinese had more time for the Taliban than for Biden or Kerry."
The Taliban government has been quick to embrace China since overthrowing the U.S.-backed Ghani regime within weeks of America's military exit. The Taliban announced Tuesday their intentions to join Chinese international trade projects taking place along a corridor to Pakistan and complimented China as a "trustworthy friend."
Kerry arrived in China even as other senior administration officials such as Vice President Kamala Harris canceled international travel in the wake of the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan. Rep. Mark Green (R., Tenn.) told the Free Beacon narrowing ties between Beijing and the Taliban should surprise nobody and pose a major threat.
"The Chinese Communist Party sees an opportunity with the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan to further expand its reach," Green said. "China's growing economic and military strength coupled with their aggressive attempt to dominate regional waters makes them the greatest threat to the United States and to the international order. It’s past time for the international community to stand together against Beijing’s rising aggression."
Kerry—along with several far-left advocacy groups—has pleaded with the Chinese and the Biden administration to divorce climate change from issues such as human rights and military aggression, which dominate the Sino-American relationship. Chinese officials warned Kerry the Biden administration is guilty of a "major strategic miscalculation toward China" and expressed no interest in separating climate from other issues.
"While President Biden lives in a foreign policy fantasyland—pandering to China on climate and COVID origins—Communist China is strengthening partnerships with terrorists," warned Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa). "Red China has no respect for the Biden Administration."
The visit also may deal a major blow to Kerry’s broader climate agenda with China. The administration's attempts to broach climate change with Beijing have already invited scrutiny due to the Chinese green energy industry’s links to slave labor.