I have come to China to mark 30 years of environmental partnership between our two nations. The environmental issues of this generation – from local concerns about pollution in water and air, to global concerns about climate change – have made our ability to work together more crucial than ever. That is why my first official action on this trip was to join Minister Zhou to renew the official cooperation between the US and China.
One of the top priorities on our list is combating climate change by limiting pollutants. Yesterday, I helped opening a Regional Air Quality Meeting in Beijing, under which EPA will work with MEP to address climate forcing pollutants like methane and NOx. Climate change is a concern for both the US and China, and we must consider both environment and economic factors. President Obama and I have continued to emphasize that a strong economy and a clean environment must go hand-in-hand.
I just finished a boat tour of your Pearl River, in which I discussed the challenges and progress in addressing water pollution with the Director General of the Guangdong Environmental Protection Board. Clean water is an essential part of every community. China’s rivers stretch across the country, providing vital resources to hundreds of millions. The health of those waters is integral to the health of your people, to the health of your environment, and to the health of your economy.