Members of a U.S. congressional delegation have expressed widely divergent views
on prospects for US-China cooperation to combat climate change - an issue they
all agree is urgent. Meanwhile, although climate change topped the agenda,
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi says she raised the
issue of human rights in her meetings this week with top Chinese leaders.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told
journalists in Beijing her meetings with Chinese leaders this week focused
mainly on the urgent issue of climate change.
"The impact of climate
change has a tremendous effect, in the United States, in China and throughout
the world," Pelosi said. "We do not have that much time or margin for error. We
must come to agreement. We must act."High-level
Speaker Pelosi is the third-highest ranking person in the
U.S. government. The Chinese leaders she met with this week included President
Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.
Democratic Congressman Ed Markey said
he is optimistic the United States and China will be able to work together
before a global climate change summit in Copenhagen at the end of the
"We leave here encouraged that progress can be made, heading
towards Copenhagen," Markey said. "And we hope that in the months ahead, we can
work cooperatively together, in order to bring the world to a point in December
where we can achieve the agreement which will help to reverse the catastrophic
consequences of climate change."
This upbeat viewpoint was not embraced
by the entire delegation. Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner said he was
"It is business as usual for China," Sensenbrenner
said. "The message that I received is that China was going to do it their way,
regardless of what the rest of the world negotiates in
There was one area for bipartisan
agreement, though, and that was on human rights, an issue for which Pelosi is
known as an outspoken champion.
She defended herself against questions
about whether the human rights issue has been downplayed this
"Eighteen years ago, I stood on Tiananmen Square with a banner,"
Pelosi recalled. "That was my opportunity to express the concern that I, as a
member of Congress, had for human rights in China and Tibet. I am now Speaker of
the House, and have an opportunity to speak directly to the president of China,
to bring up the subject on behalf of the entire Congress."
She says other
issues were also raised, including North Korea, intellectual property and
national security. She says in all cases, the conversation was "candid," and
that both sides, in her words, "spoke in friendship." She leaves Beijing for
Hong Kong Friday.