The White House has signaled that Mr. Biden will announce more ambitious plans for reducing emissions domestically, after four years in which his predecessor, Donald J. Trump, disparaged the issue.
“We’ve seen commitments before where everybody falls short,” Mr. Kerry said. “I mean, frankly, we’re all falling short. The entire world right now is falling short. This is not a finger-pointing exercise of one nation alone.”
Mr. Kerry met in Shanghai with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, over three days, in talks that at one point went late into the night. Mr. Kerry said they stayed focused on climate change and did not touch on increasingly rancorous disputes over issues like China’s political crackdown in Hong Kong and its threats toward Taiwan.
On Friday, even as the two envoys met, the State Department sharply criticized prison sentences handed down in Hong Kong to prominent pro-democracy leaders, including Jimmy Lai, a 72-year-old newspaper tycoon. On the same day, China warned the United States and Japan against “collusion” as Mr. Biden met at the White House with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, with China’s rising ambitions one of the major issues on the table.
Chinese officials and the state news media noted Mr. Kerry’s visit but markedly played it down, focusing instead on Mr. Xi’s meetings. But in the joint statement with the United States, the Chinese government pledged to do more on climate, though without detailing any specific steps.
The statement said that both countries would develop “long-term strategies” to reach carbon neutrality — the point when a country emits no more carbon than it removes from the atmosphere — before the next international climate conference in November, in Glasgow.
In a joint statement after the White House meetings between Mr. Biden and Mr. Suga, the United States and Japan said they intended to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 by promoting renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and storage, and through innovations in capturing and recycling carbon from the atmosphere.
HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe released at least 320 prisoners from its jails on Saturday to ease congestion in the country’s notoriously overcrowded jails as a second wave of the coronavirus devastates the country.
The move comes amid growing allegations that a government crackdown has sent dozens of activists, journalists and opposition leaders to prisons.
The prisoners were released under an amnesty program established by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2018, the year after he seized power, ending decades of the strongarm rule of Robert G. Mugabe. The amnesty does not include prisoners convicted of crimes that include murder, human trafficking, sexual offenses and treason.
Most of those released on Saturday had been convicted of nonviolent crimes, according to Zimbabwe’s Prison and Correctional Service, but were being held in the infamous Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. That is the country’s largest correctional facility, and it is known for overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.
released 4,208 prisoners under the amnesty order.
The decision to release the latest round of prisoners comes after the variant first identified in South Africa, B.1.351,flooded into Zimbabwe at the start of the year, straining a system that already lacked enough drugs, equipment and medical staff. To date, Zimbabwe has recorded nearly 38,000 coronavirus infections, including 1,551 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In February, the country launched a national vaccine campaign with 200,000 doses donated by the Chinese vaccine maker, Sinopharm. The country is set to receive an additional 1.1 million doses as part of Covax, a global sharing program which is distributing vaccines to poor and middle income countries.
Zimbabwean officials have portrayed the vaccine rollout as a major win in the government-led response to the pandemic. But in recent months, human rights organizations have accused leaders of using coronavirus restrictions as a pretext to arrest opposition leaders in a crackdown on dissent.
A U.S. State Department human rights report released last month accused Zimbabwe’s security forces of engaging in serious human rights violations last year — including arbitrary killing and torturing civilians. The report also noted harsh and life-threatening conditions for political prisoners and detainees inside the country’s prisons.
On Saturday, human rights investigators commended the latest release of some prisoners and called on the Zimbabwean government to expand upon the initiative immediately.
“The Zimbabwe authorities should also release those in pretrial detention for nonviolent and lesser offenses, many of whom are political activists whose continued detention is unnecessary and unjustified,” said Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa director of Human Rights Watch.
If 2020 was the summer of the pandemic-enforced road trip, many people seem to be hoping that 2021 will be the summer they can travel overseas. But that’s a big “if.” Roadblocks abound, among them, the rise of variant cases in popular destinations like Europe and confusion about the role that vaccine “passports” will play as people begin crossing borders. The recent pause on Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine adds a new wrinkle.
Still, there is reason for optimism. The number of vaccine doses administered each day in the United States has tripled in the last few months, and President Biden has said the United States is still on track to vaccinate every American adult who wants it by the end of May. Globally, the number of shots has been rising, with more than 840 million vaccines administered worldwide.
Currently, Americans are restricted from entering many countries for nonessential trips. Travelers can check the U.S. State Department website for specific country entry restrictions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to view recommendations for international travelers (vaccinated and unvaccinated), and the C.D.C. COVID Data Tracker to monitor country conditions.
Iceland announced on March 16 that it would allow all vaccinated travelers into the country, Delta Air Lines followed soon after with an announcement that in May it would resume its Iceland routes from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Minneapolis St. Paul Airport, and offer a new route from Boston.
it’s been reported that the Biden administration may cancel existing travel restrictions for foreign nationals coming from Britain, Europe and Canada, around mid-May.
Still, the market is very much in flux, Mr. Grant said, so even though airlines may be increasing their flight schedules, they will continue to adjust to demand, possibly consolidating some of the flights.
United Airlines plans to increase international flights, but will still be operating just about half of its 2019 schedule. Among the flights it is eyeing are those between Chicago and Tokyo’s Haneda airport and Tel Aviv. The company also plans to increase service from Los Angeles to Sydney and Tokyo Narita.
Beach destinations that are open to Americans have seen an increase in demand and United is scheduling 90 more flights per week to or from the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America than it had in May 2019.
Patrick Quayle, the vice president of the United Airlines’ international network, said the company had been adding more flights to countries that were open, but was uncertain when additional destinations like Canada — which is currently closed to American tourists and which has recently seen a rise in cases — would be added to that list. United is trying to be nimble, he said, so “if something were to open up, we can put our aircraft in the sky quickly.”
At American Airlines, new routes are planned this summer from New York to Athens and Tel Aviv, and from Miami to Suriname and Tel Aviv. (Israel has announced it would allow some vaccinated tourists into the country beginning May 23.) American also announced it was restarting a number of flights to Europe. Beyond that, the company won’t speculate on where air travel will open next.
Travel-Ready Center allows passengers with booked tickets to view country-specific entry requirements and schedule tests, and will soon allow customers to upload and store their vaccination records on the website before they travel. American’s online travel tool on the company’s website already allows passengers to store required documents like proof of negative coronavirus tests.
One airline that has been focusing on flights between the United States and international destinations is not a U.S. carrier, but a Middle Eastern one: Emirates. The United Arab Emirates opened up to leisure and business travelers last July and Emirates is already offering direct service to Dubai from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York and Boston. Passengers can also connect from there to other destinations in the Middle East, Africa and West Asia. The company recently announced it would resume its flight between Newark and Athens on June 1.
health and cleaning protocols they put in place during the pandemic. Some have been adding on-site virus testing. In addition, so-called “touchless technology,” like phone apps for ordering food, will continue to be rolled out. A report by Medallia Zingle, a communications software maker, found that 77 percent of consumers surveyed said the amount of in-person interaction required at a business will factor into their decision on whether or not they visit that business.
Marriott, one of the world’s largest international hotel companies, with some 7,600 hotels under 30 brands, has implemented a set of practices it calls Commitment to Clean that includes sanitizing properties with hospital-grade disinfectants, using air-purifying systems and spreading out lobby furniture to facilitate social distancing. Some properties offer free coronavirus testing.
Recently the company announced a pilot program introducing self-serve check-in kiosks that create room keys and allow guests to bypass the front desk. It is also adding more “grab and go” food options.
Hyatt, another major international brand, is also continuing to focus on cleanliness. Currently, it is working with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council and Cleveland Clinic to create its Global Care and Cleanliness Commitment. Those practices will “remain in place during the pandemic and beyond,” Amy Weinberg, Hyatt’s senior vice president of loyalty, brand marketing and consumer insights, wrote in an email.
its Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz, France, one of its last remaining closed properties. Almost all Hyatt properties have been open since last December, and in February the company began arranging for guests staying at Hyatt resorts in Latin America who planned to travel back to the United States to get free on-site coronavirus testing.
IHG’s Kimpton brand with 73 hotels in 11 countries plans on modifying its protocols this summer where it feels they are safe and local ordinances allow — for example, bringing back the manager-hosted social hour, a guest favorite.
The four Kimpton hotels in Britain that closed because of the pandemic are currently scheduled to reopen by the end of May. A new Kimpton property in Bangkok that opened in October of 2020 to local guests will welcome international travelers this fall. The company also plans to open a new hotel in Bali and one in Paris later this year.
“Hoteliers are chafing at the bit” to reopen and are able to do so quickly, said Robin Rossman, the managing director of the hospitality analytics company STR. The global hotel sector, though, will likely take up to two years to make a full return, he said.
Geographic Expeditions, which did not run any trips last summer, reported that its bookings have picked up significantly in the past few months. It plans to run 20 international trips this summer, both to familiar destinations such as the Galápagos, and some off the beaten path, including Pakistan and Namibia. There are only about 25 percent fewer guests signed up now than there were for 2019 summer trips, according to the chief executive, Brady Binstadt, and they are “spending more than before — they’re splurging on that nicer hotel suite or charter flight or special experience.”
The company chose its first destinations based on entry requirements and client interest and then adjusted itineraries to avoid crowds, minimize internal flights and make sure guests had access to required testing. One expedition required flying a Covid-19 test into a safari lodge in Botswana via helicopter.
A guest recently moved a Geographic Expeditions trip planned for 2022 departure forward to 2021. The company hopes this will become a trend.
Abercrombie & Kent restarted its small-group and private trips last fall and early winter to places like Egypt, Costa Rica and Tanzania, and is continuing to expand choices as countries open up. “There’s been a noticeable spike in people calling who have had their first vaccine,” said Stefanie Schmudde, the vice-president of product development and operations. Bookings in March rose more than 50 percent over bookings in February, according to the company.
Ms. Schmudde monitors global travel conditions intently, and can rattle off names of countries that have been open to tourists for a few months and those she expects to open soon. She predicts Japan and China will open up this fall, but does not expect Europe to welcome many visitors any time soon.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Taiwan has built thousands of homes for the poor in Paraguay, upgraded the country’s health care system, awarded hundreds of scholarships and even helped fund the futuristic Congress building in the capital, spending generously over decades to nurture their diplomatic ties.
But the alliance, which makes Paraguay one of only 15 nations to have full diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and the only one in South America, is facing an existential threat as Paraguay’s quest for vaccines becomes increasingly desperate.
With its health care system buckling as Covid-19 cases soar, Paraguayan officials across the political spectrum say the time has come to consider dumping Taiwan, which doesn’t export vaccines, in order to establish diplomatic ties with China, which does.
“This is really a life and death situation,” said Pepe Zhang, an associate director at the Atlantic Council who specializes in relations between Latin America and China. “In this very acute phase of the pandemic, less resourceful countries like Paraguay are asking where they’re going to get the vaccine.”
to rely predominantly on Chinese vaccines to blunt an epidemic that has left a brutal toll.
That has given Beijing considerable leverage in a region where it has a broad constellation of investments and projects. Suddenly, wresting Paraguay from Taiwan’s orbit — which would advance Beijing’s goal of politically isolating an island it regards as its territory — appears within reach.
Euclides Acevedo, Paraguay’s foreign minister, said recently that Beijing has made it clear it is interested in establishing ties with Paraguay. He has dangled that prospect of making the diplomatic switch as he has sought to pressure Taiwan and its ally, the United States, to get vaccines to Paraguay quickly.
late last month in an interview on the television network Telefuturo. “I think our strategic allies, including the United States and Taiwan, must respond.”
Beijing’s one-China principle forces countries to choose between having full diplomatic relations with Beijing or Taipei. Three countries in Latin America blindsided and angered the United States government in recent years by abruptly severing ties with Taiwan following secret negotiations with Beijing.
Panama, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador — came with promises of growing trade with Beijing and has made them early recipients of Chinese vaccines.
Mr. Acevedo said Paraguay should explore what it would gain by doing the same.
“President Xi Jinping has keen interest in partnering with us,” he said. “It’s a political debate that should draw input from all segments of the state and all of society.”
Yet, it’s not clear that Paraguay has taken formal steps toward exploring a flip.
Charles Andrew Tang, who heads the China-Paraguay Chamber of Commerce, said he advised officials at the health ministry earlier this year on the paperwork they would need to fill out to request purchasing Chinese vaccines.
Mr. Tang, who is seen in Paraguay as a key interlocutor with the Chinese government, said it is conceivable that Chinese vaccine manufacturers would sell vaccines to Paraguay even without formal diplomatic relations. But he said the onus was on officials in Paraguay to make the first move.
an immediate pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine after six recipients in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within one to three weeks of vaccination.
All 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico temporarily halted or recommended providers pause the use of the vaccine. The U.S. military, federally run vaccination sites and a host of private companies, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and Publix, also paused the injections.
Fewer than one in a million Johnson & Johnson vaccinations are now under investigation. If there is indeed a risk of blood clots from the vaccine — which has yet to be determined — that risk is extremely low. The risk of getting Covid-19 in the United States is far higher.
The pause could complicate the nation’s vaccination efforts at a time when many states are confronting a surge in new cases and seeking to address vaccine hesitancy.
Johnson & Johnson has also decided to delay the rollout of its vaccine in Europe amid concerns over rare blood clots, dealing another blow to Europe’s inoculation push. South Africa, devastated by a more contagious virus variant that emerged there, suspended use of the vaccine as well. Australia announced it would not purchase any doses.
“The virus can spread across borders, but mankind’s love also transcends borders,” he told reporters.
This week China’s main Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer, Sinovac, made a gesture that is certain to fuel speculation about Beijing’s plans in Paraguay. The South American soccer federation Conmebol, which is based in Paraguay, announced it was receiving a donation of 50,000 doses of CoronaVac, the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Beijing-based Sinovac.
“The leaders of this company have understood the enormous social and cultural value of soccer in South American countries,” the federation’s president, Alejandro Domínguez, said in a statement, calling the donation a “noble gesture.”
Despite all these signals, Taiwan’s position in Paraguay may be safer than it appears, said Lee McClenny, who served as the U.S. ambassador in Paraguay until last September. While cabinet members and businessmen have pressured President Mario Abdo Benítez to forge ties with China, the Chinese government didn’t show much interest in getting Paraguay to flip, he said.
“On the ground I didn’t see very effective efforts to make this happen,” Mr. McClenny said.
Besides, Mr. McClenny added, the Paraguayan president takes a special pride in the relationship with Taiwan, which was brokered in the 1950s by his late father, who served as the personal secretary to Alfredo Stroessner, the dictator who ran the country for 35 years. And Taiwanese aid has made a major impact in the landlocked, impoverished nation.
“It’s effective and benefits people’s lives in real ways,” Mr. McClenny said about Taiwan’s assistance.
The Biden administration has signaled its unease about the prospect that Paraguay could cut a deal with China. In a phone call with Mr. Abdo Benítez last month, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken urged the Paraguay government to continue to “work with democratic and global partners, including Taiwan, to overcome this global pandemic,” according to a summary of the call provided by the State Department.
That message rankles opposition lawmakers, including the leftist Senator Esperanza Martínez, who served as health minister from 2008 to 2012. Ms. Martínez has long favored establishing relations with China, arguing that Paraguay stands to benefit in the long run by expanding trade. She said Washington’s exhortation was immoral.
“We’re being loyal to people who impose rules on us while we die,” she said. “Our allies are vaccinating people morning, afternoon and night while they block us from getting vaccines, saying we’ll turn into communists.”
Ernesto Londoño reported from Rio de Janeiro. Santi Carneri contributed reporting from Asunción, Amy Qin contributed reporting from Taipei, Taiwan and Sui-Lee Wee contributed reporting from Singapore.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday, less than a day after President Biden formally announced plans to withdraw all remaining troops from the country by Sept. 11. The trip was intended to signal continued cooperation amid the major shift in policy.
The withdrawal, which comes nearly 20 years after the United States first sent troops to Afghanistan, has raised profound questions within the country about its effect on Afghan civilians and the ability of the government and the Taliban to negotiate a peace deal.
Mr. Biden, laying out his plan in an address to the nation on Wednesday afternoon, said the country could no longer “continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan.”
Following the president’s announcement, NATO’s foreign and defense ministers agreed to begin withdrawing NATO forces on May 1 and finish “within a few months,” the alliance said in a statement.
Hours later, Mr. Blinken arrived in Kabul for the unannounced and brief trip, during which he visited the United States Embassy and then met with Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president, and Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the Afghan government council that has led peace negotiations with the Taliban. By Thursday evening, Mr. Blinken had departed for Washington.
“I wanted to demonstrate with my visit the ongoing commitment of the United States to the Islamic Republic and the people of Afghanistan,” Mr. Blinken said before his meeting with Mr. Ghani began. “The partnership is changing, but the partnership is enduring.”
Mr. Ghani said the Afghan government respected the decision and was “adjusting our priorities.”
Mr. Blinken and Mr. Ghani “discussed the importance of preserving the gains of the last 20 years, especially in building a strong civil society and protecting the rights of women and girls,” said Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department.
The pair also spoke about counterterrorism cooperation and their shared commitment to ensuring that Al Qaeda does not regain a foothold in Afghanistan.
Mr. Blinken then met with Mr. Abdullah, who said he was grateful to the American people and the Biden administration.
“We have a new chapter, but it’s a new chapter that we’re writing together,” Mr. Abdullah added.
Mr. Blinken had traveled to Afghanistan from Brussels, where, alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, he briefed NATO officials on the decision to withdraw American troops.
For all of his disorganization in other policy areas, Donald Trump had a pretty clear vision for Mideast policy: The U.S. would become closer to its allies and more hostile toward its longtime adversary, Iran.
The Trump administration embraced Israel and Saudi Arabia, avoiding almost any criticism of their governments. That part of that strategy seemed to work. The new diplomatic closeness helped lead to the Abraham Accords, in which the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain became the first Arab governments in a quarter-century to recognize Israel.
Trump’s ambitions with Iran were also grand. He scrapped Barack Obama’s nuclear deal, claiming that it was too weak and wouldn’t keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons. In its place, Trump imposed harsh sanctions, predicting they would weaken Iran’s leaders, strengthen their domestic opposition and eventually cause Iran to come begging for a new (tougher) deal.
Virtually none of that has happened.
“Iran never once came begging for a deal. They never even came to talk to the U.S.,” as the Times’s David Sanger, who’s been covering Iran policy since the 1990s, told me. Instead, Iran ramped up its nuclear program during Trump’s presidency, potentially bringing it closer to having a weapon.
an explosion — apparently caused by an Israeli attack — damaged Iran’s main nuclear enrichment site, in the city of Natanz. Today, negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, involving multiple countries, are scheduled to restart in Vienna.
The key question for the Biden administration is whether it can put a nuclear deal back together — and, if it can’t, how it will try to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, with the ability to threaten Israel, Saudi Arabia and the U.S.
reasonably wonder whether the next Republican president will pull out of any new deal. Other participants in the talks, like the European Union, have similar concerns. “Who wants to make a deal with us now when Trump has shown how the next president can simply yank the plug?” Michael Crowley, who covers the State Department, asks.
Trump also took steps that make a new deal tricky. He imposed new sanctions that cite factors other than Iran’s nuclear program, like its support of terrorism. As part of any deal, Iranian leaders want the U.S. to lift these additional sanctions. But, as David Sanger points out, “it would be politically very difficult for Biden to say we are now going to lift these sanctions because we have determined that Iran no longer supports terrorism — of course it does.”
Azadeh Moaveni and Sussan Tahmasebi have written in The Times.)
“This is a really hard calculation for the Iranians,” David says. “If they don’t do a deal, they don’t get their oil revenue, and they desperately want their oil revenue.” The recent surge in oil prices, which are up more than 50 percent since last fall, strengthens Biden’s hand.
How close is Iran to having a nuclear bomb? Probably not close, David says — months if not years away. That buys Biden some time.
Iran does seem to be making progress toward enriching uranium to a level that a weapon requires. After that, the program would need to build a weapon, which would most likely take months, although North Korea may end up helping and reducing the necessary time.
With Trump’s policy having failed, what do opponents of Obama’s deal favor? Some Republicans and Israeli officials argue that Trump’s approach will work if given more time: Eventually, they say, Iran will be weak enough to submit to nuclear restrictions so tight that the world can have confidence in them. But that view seems based more on hope than any evidence.
The more likely scenario, absent a new deal, is that Iran will continue building its nuclear program — and that Israel and the U.S. will use a combination of sabotage and military attacks to debilitate the program.
“mowing the lawn”: Iran’s program grows, Israel cuts it back down and the cycle repeats.
THE LATEST NEWS
Lives Lived: John Naisbitt’s ability to see a link between the counterculture of the 1960s and Reagan-era Washington made him a favorite bedside read for yuppies in the 1980s. He died at 92.
ARTS AND IDEAS
The push to update tech terminology
Programmers often use computer engineering terms like “master” and “slave” in code. Some in the tech community are calling for that language, along with other offensive terms, to be updated.
Last year, members of an industry group proposed as much to the group: “Primary,” for example, could replace “master.” The responses from within the group were mixed, and it has yet to issue guidance on terminology. Though it cannot force giants like Amazon or Apple to follow its standards, tech companies often do.
Still, some companies have taken action on their own: Twitter replaced several terms after an engineer advocated for changes. Microsoft-owned GitHub now uses “main” instead of “master.” Some programmers view the changes as vital, Elizabeth Landau writes in Wired. Others see it as “empty symbolism” that does not fix the tech industry’s diversity problems.
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration plans to suspend the sale of many offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia approved under the Trump administration, but it will allow the sale of other matériel that can be construed to have a defensive purpose, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.
The plan, which was briefed to Congress last week, is part of an administration review of billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that the White House announced soon after President Biden’s inauguration.
The original sales were met with strong opposition last year from Democrats in Congress, who are angry over the countries’ involvement in the war in Yemen and wary of the transfer of advanced military technology to authoritarian Middle Eastern states with ties to China.
The Biden administration will approve $23 billion in weapons sales to the United Arab Emirates, according to a State Department spokesman, including F-35 fighter jets and armed Reaper drones. Biden administration officials signaled at the time of the review that those arms, sold to the Emirates soon after it had signed a diplomatic agreement with Israel brokered by the Trump administration, were likely to be approved.
killings of civilians, including many children, because of the use of such bombs by the Saudi-led coalition.
Raytheon Company, the biggest supplier of the bombs, lobbied the Trump administration to continue the sales, despite a growing outcry from humanitarian groups, members of Congress and some in the State Department.
The suspension does not cover sales of any other kinds of weapons to Saudi Arabia, U.S. officials said. Weapons used by helicopters would still be permitted, as well as ground-to-ground munitions and small arms. Electronics equipment, including jamming technology, would also be permitted. The Saudi military receives almost all its weapons from the United States.
formally notified lawyers about the decision, which officials say was made this year as part of a lawsuit opposing the agreement brought by the nonprofit New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs.
The Emirates played a big role in the Yemen war but stepped back recently. As part of negotiations last year to try to persuade the Emirates to normalize relations with Israel, the Trump administration told Emirati officials that it would accelerate approval of sales of F-35 fighter jets and drones.
U.S. officials said on Wednesday that Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken received the report this week from other offices in the State Department, and that he was expected to approve it. The report would then go to the National Security Council for final approval.
“I and many other House members remain concerned about the proposed sale of $23 billion in arms to the U.A.E.,” said Representative Gregory W. Meeks, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He said he had “many questions about any decision by the Biden administration to go forward with the Trump administration’s proposed transfers” of the fighter jets, drones and munitions to the Emirates.
Israeli officials and some members of Congress have expressed concerns that the sales of F-35s would weaken what they called Israel’s “qualitative military edge” over other countries in the region, and that Congress requires presidential administrations to maintain it as a matter of law. Israel is currently the only country in the region with F-35s.
Other U.S. officials have been concerned about selling the F-35, one of the military’s most advanced pieces of hardware, to the United Arab Emirates when it is developing a closer relationship with China, which is notorious for technological espionage. American officials are worried about the radar and stealth abilities of F-35s and some drone technology, among other things.
Ms. Fontenrose added that some officials had additional concerns that the Emirates might employ American-made weapons, including Reaper drones, in the Libyan civil war, where it has intervened. She said the Emirates had provided the Trump administration with “assurances” on that front.
The State Department official, who requested anonymity to discuss policies that had not been officially announced, noted that it would take years to complete the Emirati arms deal and that during that period the administration would ensure that the country was living up to obligations, such as to protect American technology and to ensure that U.S. arms were not used in contexts that violate human rights and the laws of conflict.
Mr. Meeks echoed that point. “Fortunately, none of these transfers would occur anytime soon,” he said, “so there will be ample time for Congress to review whether these transfers should go forward and what restrictions and conditions would be imposed.”
Mr. Trump’s deal with the Emirates was approved soon after it had agreed to join the Abraham Accords, which normalized its diplomatic relations with Israel for the first time.
Some Democrats complained that the arms sales appeared to have been an inappropriate inducement for the Emirates to agree to the accords, which largely formalized a relationship that had grown steadily friendlier for many years.
“I still don’t believe it’s in our interest to fuel a spiraling arms race in the Middle East,” said Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut and a leading critic in Congress of the arms sales and of U.S. ties to Gulf Arab states. “I have requested a briefing from the administration regarding the status of the review of both the U.A.E. and Saudi sales.”
President Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, was set to arrive in China on Wednesday, the first Biden administration official to visit the country at a moment of high diplomatic tensions.
In its formal announcement of the trip, the State Department said that Mr. Kerry would “discuss raising global climate ambition” ahead of a virtual climate summit that President Biden plans to host for dozens of world leaders later this month. The summit’s goal is to prod countries to do more to reduce carbon emissions and limit planetary warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius, a threshold scientists argue is needed to avert catastrophic changes to life on the planet.
President Biden has invited China’s leader, Xi Jinping, to the summit, but Mr. Xi has not yet accepted the invitation. His participation in an American diplomatic initiative, were it to happen, would be a significant sign of China’s willingness to work with the United States despite rising tensions over sanctions and other measures the new administration has taken in coordination with its allies.
Mr. Kerry’s visit to China underscores the Biden administration’s intent to cooperate with China on shared challenges, including climate, the coronavirus and nuclear proliferation even as the countries are locked in an increasingly fraught political, technological and military competition.
Hong Kong and Xinjiang, and its military operations near Taiwan and in the South China Sea.
In a move likely to anger Beijing, the State Department also announced on Tuesday that a delegation of former American officials, including two former deputy secretaries of state, would visit Taiwan as a “personal signal” of Mr. Biden’s commitment to the island democracy, which Beijing claims as part of its territory. Chinese officials have sharply criticized the administration’s signals of support for Taiwan.
Mr. Biden has made clear that he sees China as a leading strategic threat to America. At a testy diplomatic summit in Anchorage last month, senior Chinese and American officials traded sharply critical assessments of each other’s policies.
The visit by Mr. Kerry comes after the release of a major annual intelligence report on Tuesday that warned China’s effort to expand its growing influence represents one of the largest threats to the United States. China’s strategy, according to the report, is to drive wedges between the United States and its allies. The report also identified climate change as a growing threat to the United States.
Biden officials understand that effectively tackling climate change requires cooperation from China, the world’s top emitter of greenhouse gas. As secretary of state in the Obama administration, Mr. Kerry himself helped to secure China’s agreement to join the 2015 Paris Climate accords.
specific new targets for reducing emissions. He pledged last year to speed up the point when emissions peak in China, which had previously been in 2030, and to reach “carbon neutrality” by 2060 — meaning that the country would emit no more emissions than it takes from the atmosphere by planting forests or engineering.
Environmentalists cheered those goals, but later expressed disappointment that the Chinese government did not detail how to reach them when they unveiled a new five-year economic plan in March.
At the same time, China has continued to approve new coal plants, one of the leading sources of carbon emissions, prioritizing social stability and economic development of an important industry at home.
Thom Woodroofe, an analyst at the Asia Society Policy Institute who is studying Chinese-American climate cooperation, said at a talk last month that both countries seemed to want to insulate the issue of climate change from their other disputes.
“From China’s perspective, there’s a recognition that they have more to gain than lose from finding a way to cooperate with the United States on climate,” he said.
While President Trump was in the White House, China raised its profile as a leading player in climate change policy. “With Biden’s inauguration, they don’t simply want that position to be swept aside,” he said.
Chris Buckley contributed reporting and Claire Fu contributed research.
New Hampshire and Oklahoma announced plans this week to open up vaccine eligibility to outside residents as supply starts to grow and more states expand eligibility.
Gov. Chris Sununu, Republican of New Hampshire, said officials were confident that there would be enough shots to vaccinate outside residents by April 19, the same day that President Biden has called for every state to make all adults eligible for a shot. Mr. Sununu said New Hampshire was “well ahead” of that deadline after making all adults ages 16 or older in the state eligible for a vaccine on April 2.
“We’re going to have a lot of vaccine here,” he said at a news briefing on Thursday, “so we want to get it out to anyone who might actually be here in the state.”
The change came after Mr. Sununu faced criticism from students and Democratic lawmakers for not allowing out-of-state college students to get vaccinated in New Hampshire. He said last week that residents had to “come first” and that college students were at lower risk compared with other age groups.
New York Times vaccine tracker. New Hampshire is behind some other states, though, in fully vaccinating residents, with about 22 percent completely inoculated.
Oklahomabegan allowing outside residents to get vaccinated in the state on Thursday, nearly two weeks after the state made all adults ages 16 or older eligible.
“We have always known there would be a point at which supply and increasing capacity would allow us to welcome residents from neighboring states into Oklahoma to get vaccinated,” Keith Reed, a deputy commissioner at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, said in a statement. “We are now reaching that point.”
About 35 percent of Oklahoma’s population has received at least one shot, and 22 percent are fully vaccinated.
Indiana also ended its residency requirement late last month. Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, said officials made the change to comply with Federal Emergency Management Agency vaccination site rules. The state also wantedto accommodate college students and residents who live with multiple people but may not have proof of residency. More than half of the states and the District of Columbia have residency requirements for vaccination, although most allow exceptions for out-of-state workers, according to a vaccine tracker from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on national health issues.
about three million shots a day, an increase from roughly two million in early March. Although millions of Americans are getting vaccinated, the country is reporting a sharp rise in new cases, with an average of 67,923 new reported cases a day over the past week, according to a New York Times database.
Jennifer Kates, a senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said more states are likely to follow New Hampshire and Oklahoma’s path as vaccine production ramps up.
“If a state does feel more secure in its supply and is not feeling a crunch,” Dr. Kates said, “then the ability to help the national effort to vaccinate more people and remove barriers becomes important.”
BRUSSELS — Talks in Vienna aimed at reinvigorating the Iran nuclear deal that the Trump administration left in 2018 and which Tehran began breaking a year later made some progress this week: They didn’t break down.
Senior diplomats involved in the talks agreed on Friday that initial steps in two working groups designed to bring both the United States and Iran back into compliance with the accord were positive and would continue next week.
Although there are no direct talks between Iran and the United States, the other signatories to the deal — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, under the chairmanship of the European Union — are engaging in a kind of shuttle diplomacy between them.
One working group is focusing on how to lift the harsh economic sanctions that the United States imposed that are inconsistent with the terms of the nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or J.C.P.O.A. The other working group is focusing on how Iran can return to the limits on enriched uranium and the centrifuges to produce it under the terms of the deal.
a Twitter message after Friday’s meeting that “participants took stock of the work done by experts over the last three days and noted with satisfaction the initial progress made.” The senior diplomats who meet in what is known as the Joint Commission — representing all signatories except the United States — will reconvene next week “in order to maintain the positive momentum,” Mr. Ulyanov said.
The Iranian representative, Abbas Araghchi, the deputy foreign minister, said that the Joint Commission would meet again on Wednesday. In the meeting, he emphasized Iran’s commitment to the talks and that “this depends on the political will and seriousness of the other parties, otherwise there will be no reason to continue the negotiations,” according to comments posted on Twitter by the Iranian journalist Abas Aslani.
On Thursday, Mr. Araghchi told Iran’s Press TV that he saw hopeful signs from Washington about sanctions relief, but that “I think we have a longer road ahead, although we’re moving forward and the atmosphere is constructive.”
But a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said this week that Iran has now produced 55 kilograms, or around 120 pounds, of uranium enriched to 20 percent and within another eight months could reach 120 kilograms. In mid-February the amount was some 17.6 kilograms, which is indicative of why the other powers want to move quickly to bring Iran back to the limits mandated in the deal. Iran is also using advanced centrifuges and making uranium metal, both banned under the deal.
U.S. officials have worked to play down expectations for any quick breakthrough and have urged patience. Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, has said that the United States is prepared to lift all the sanctions reimposed and new ones imposed by President Donald Trump after May 2018 that are “inconsistent” with the nuclear deal.
sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank, for instance, imposed in September 2019, are under terrorism legislation. But analysts believe that Iran will not accept leaving that sanction in place.
In what has been perceived as a gesture of good will, Iran on Friday released a South Korean oil tanker that had been held since January in a dispute over billions of dollars seized by Seoul in response to punishing American sanctions.
Iran had accused the ship, the MT Hankuk Chemi, of polluting the waters in the Strait of Hormuz, but the seizure was widely seen as an attempt to put pressure on Seoul to release billions of dollars in Iranian assets tied up in South Korean banks in response to U.S. sanctions on Iran.
The European Union said in a statement after Friday’s meeting that “participants took stock of the discussions held at various levels since the last Joint Commission in view of a possible return of the U.S.” to the nuclear deal and “discussed modalities to ensure the return to its full and effective implementation.”
The commission “was briefed on the work of the two expert groups on sanctions lifting and nuclear implementation measures and participants noted the constructive and results-oriented exchanges.”