United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a delegation of US lawmakers on a tour of Shanghai yesterday during an eight-day visit to China for climate talks.
Accompanied by four Democrats and one Republican - all members of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, - Pelosi met Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng.
On Sunday, the delegation met the head of the local legislature. The US Embassy to China has not yet released further details of Pelosi's visit.
The House Speaker, who said the trip with have a green emphasis, was in the country at the invitation of Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. She is understood to be seeking support for a global pact on reducing carbon emissions in advance of the Copenhagen Conference in December, says the Washington Post.
"It is the purpose of the trip to follow up on meetings that we have had here with representatives of China's government on the subjects of climate change and energy and how that relates to our economy," Pelosi also told reporters.
"We have to . . . learn from each other as we go forward. So that is the subject."
Pelosi will meet with leaders in Beijing during the visit, according to the US Embassy to China. And she is expected at the American Chamber of Commerce in China to talk about how the two countries "together account for nearly half of the global energy demand and how clean technology can help solve the problem (of climate change)", according to the Washington Post.
Fu Mengzi, researcher for American studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations said cooperation on global warming and improving energy efficiency was likely to "guide the future development of the two nations and the world".
"Any cooperation on such areas between the two global major economies is of instructional value for the rest of the world," Fu said, adding Pelosi's visit is "meaningful" on the legislative level.
John Milligan-Whyte, Chairman of the Center for America-China Partnership applauded the visit, after Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's visit this February, with climate change, the economic crisis and nuclear issues on the agenda.
"The US has shifted to focus on common interests with China instead of differences on the diplomatic agenda since the Obama administration took office this year, which would project a win-win mindset, step up governmental communication and finally contribute to a more solid and close-knitted Sino-US relationship," he said.
Though Pelosi stressed the trip has a green focus, there was speculation about whether the woman described by the Wall Street Journal as "one of the most vocal critics of China" would raise sensitive issues.
Last year, Pelosi suggested then US president George W. Bush boycott the opening of the Olympics. She has also visited the Dalai Lama and in the 1990s, was an opponent of normal trade relations with China. But Pelosi said she had no plans to raise such issues when asked on Capitol Hill on Friday.
(China Daily 05/26/2009 page2)