“I’m here in expectation, as you suggest, of turning the page, of renewing our friendship and reengaging (on) foundational and fundamental issues that will determine our collective faith in the future,” Newsom said in opening remarks ahead of his meeting with Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, earlier in the day.
Though Newsom was in China to promote cooperation in addressing climate change, Chinese officials took the opportunity in welcome speeches ahead of the closed-door meetings to talk about U.S.-China relations.
Newsom and Xi discussed ways to “accelerate our progress on climate in meaningful and substantive ways,” the California governor said at a news conference. Newsom said they also talked about fentanyl and China’s role in “combating” the transnational shipping of precursor chemicals. Republican members of Congress have charged that Beijing is fueling the flow of the chemicals that cartels have pouring across the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to China’s state broadcaster CCTV, Xi told Newsom, “I hope your visit will enhance mutual understanding between the two sides and play a positive role in expanding cooperation between China and California and promoting the healthy and stable development of Sino-U.S. relations.”
“The only way we can solve the climate crisis is to continue our long-standing cooperation with China,” the Office of the California Governor wrote on X. “As two of the world’s largest economies, the work we do together is felt in countless communities on both sides of the Pacific.”
“Despite major differences, we share our humanity – our desire to feel protected, connected and respected is universal – and that humanity is what should drive us to work together to stop the greatest existential threat our planet has ever known,” the post continued. “Governor @GavinNewsom made it clear to Chinese leaders that California will remain a stable, strong, and reliable partner, particularly on low-carbon, green growth.”
Critics quickly slammed Newsom’s trip online.
“Gavin Newsom will travel to China to talk climate change with communists, but he won’t meet with California’s fossil fuel workers who have lost their jobs due to his policies,” Daniel Turner, founder of nonprofit Power The Future representing energy workers pushing back on “radical green groups and the ideologues who fund them,” wrote to his more than 82,000 X followers. “Gavin Newsom flew to China on a plane powered by fossil fuels, then drove an electric vehicle powered by fossil fuels, all while fear-mongering about climate change,” Turner added.
Former Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) wrote, “Governor Newsom ought to know that China isn’t a trusted partner and shouldn’t be an example for us to follow.”