This is the first high-level visit by a US official to the Asian giant since the White House change.
The US envoy for climate, John Kerry, began in Shanghai on Thursday talks with their Chinese counterparts, a week before the virtual summit scheduled for Joe Biden to respond to the climate emergency.
It is the first visit to China by a senior official in the Biden administration since the new US president took office in January, but it takes place against a backdrop of high tensions between Beijing and Washington.
The former US secretary of state arrived in the Chinese economic capital and is meeting with senior officials at a hotel in the city, the US consulate in Shanghai told AFP.
According to the same source, the negotiations are behind closed doors, and at the moment, no contact with the press is planned. Kerry's visit to China will conclude on Saturday, and then he will go to South Korea.
China said on Wednesday that Kerry would meet his counterpart Xie Zhenhua in Shanghai.
Washington's goal is to prepare the virtual summit on climate, scheduled for April 22 and 23 at the initiative of the US president, who joined the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate after arriving at the White House. His Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, has yet to confirm his participation.
This Thursday, the Chinese government confirmed that Xi would participate Friday in a virtual summit on the climate with the French and German leaders "by invitation" of the French president Emmanuel Macron. This meeting was not public knowledge so far.
China "now assumes responsibility for global climate governance" and will not let itself be enlisted in a US-centered climate initiative, the nationalist Global Times warned on Thursday.
Despite tensions between China and the United States - trade, human rights, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Uighur Muslims' situation - Beijing's involvement is crucial for climate initiatives to be successful.
" We cannot solve this climate crisis without China being at the negotiating table, " Kerry acknowledged on CNN television on Tuesday. "We hope that China will join us."
President Xi promised last year that his country, the world's biggest polluter, would commit to reducing its polluting emissions by 2030.
For the researcher of the China Institute of International Studies, Zhang Tengjun, Kerry's visit also "is symbolic to a certain extent, because again it shows that the United States still hopes to cooperate with China on some global issues."
Kerry's trip to China coincides with a visit to Taiwan by former US Senator Chris Dodd and former Deputy Secretaries of State Richard Armitage and James Steinberg and has fueled tension between Beijing and Washington.
China protested yesterday the arrival of the US delegation and this Thursday began military exercises in the southwest of the island that will last for six days.
Tensions between China and the United States escalated during the tenure of former US President Donald Trump, who preferred to strengthen ties with Taiwan, including arms sales, despite the fact that in 1979 Washington annexed the People's Republic break ties with Taipei in favor of.