China's Xi ready to step up climate change cooperation with France, Germany

John Kerry can be seen gesturing as he speaks

"The United States and China are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands", the joint statement said.

Xi a year ago announced that China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, would achieve a peak in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060.

Kerry arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday night under tight COVID-19 protocols and was transferred to a secluded hotel not open to the public.

Chinese President Xi Jinping slammed the European Union's plan for a carbon tax system today in a call with the leaders of France and Germany, state media reported.

The joint statement came after a trip to Shanghai by USA climate envoy John Kerry, the first official from Biden's administration to visit China, signalling hopes the two sides could work together on the global challenge despite sky-high tensions on multiple other fronts. From Shanghai, the former secretary of state flew to South Korea for talks.

The main goal of his travels to China and elsewhere is to rally support for a virtual climate summit hosted by US President Joe Biden next week. China has already promised enhanced actions as it tries to meet its goal to become "carbon neutral" by 2060.

"We've had too much coal, other countries have too much coal, but China is the biggest, biggest coal user in the world", he added. "I am afraid this is not very realistic".

The leaders reportedly agreed to strengthen their dialogue on climate change, and implement the Paris Agreement - a global framework to counter global warming.

The United States and China will continue to discuss, both on the road to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) and beyond, concrete actions in the 2020s to reduce emissions aimed at keeping the Paris Agreement-aligned temperature limit within reach, read the statement.

The U.S. State Department, then under the Trump administration, said in September that China had showed "wilful disregard" for air, land and water quality, and was putting global health at risk with its greenhouse gases, drawing a sharp rebuke from Beijing.

The US and China will also develop long-term strategies to become carbon neutral, in time for the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, UK in November.