Top US trade and energy officials said they have forged closer ties with China to step up cooperation on climate change and have also announced a joint clean energy research centre.

US Trade Secretary Gary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu met with energy officials in China seeking to open the Asian giant’s markets to US green technology while urging Beijing to set hard targets on gas emissions, writes AFP.

“Secretary Chu and I measured the success of this trip by answering the simple question of whether America and China can increase their cooperation in the development of clean energy and energy efficient technologies,” Locke told AFP reporters.

During the trip, China and the United States – the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases – announced the establishment of a joint clean energy research centre aimed at allowing scientists from both countries to work together.

The centre, with headquarters in both countries, is also intended to serve as a clearing-house for information looking at energy efficiency, clean coal technology and low-polluting cars.