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China's role in Copenhagen talks "important and constructive"

1. Premier: China's role in Copenhagen talks "important and constructive"

BEIJING, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Monday the country played an important and constructive role in pushing the Copenhagen climate talks to earn the current results.

Wen told Xinhua in an interview after the two week-long Copenhagen conference, which concluded Saturday in the Danish capital after producing a non-legally binding document on climate change.

After twists and turns, the Copenhagen conference adopted Copenhagen Accord in the form of conference decision, Wen said.

The document upholds the dual-track mechanism of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, further making clear respective obligations developed and developing countries should assume and actions they should take respectively according to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities," Wen said.

The document demonstrates the consensus reached by the international community on such issues as long-term goals, fund, technology and transparency of their actions in coping with climate change.

"These are hard-won results made through joint efforts of all parties, which are widely recognized and should be cherished," said Wen.

During the conference, China, in the spirit of mutual respect, equal consultations, seeking commonness from difference and pragmatic cooperation, has carried out close contact and coordination with all parties in an open, transparent and highly-efficient manner, said Wen.

Wen said China "has played an important and constructive role in pushing the Copenhagen climate talks to earn the current results, and demonstrated its utmost sincerity and made its best effort."

China would like to work with other countries, with the Copenhagen talks as a new beginning, to honor commitments, cooperate more closely and conclude the "Bali Roadmap" negotiations at an early date, Wen said.

Wen called for efforts to seek new progress from the international cooperation on climate change and make due contributions to human endeavor to deal with climate change.

2. Chinese Foreign Minister : communication with other developing countries at Copenhagen summit transparent

On 17-18 December, Premier Wen Jiabao attended the high-level event of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. After the meeting, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who was with the Premier on the visit, briefed the accompanying journalists on Premier Wen's participation in the meeting.

Mr. Yang said that climate change bears on human survival and development. As a major global challenge, it requires a collective response from all countries. The Copenhagen Conference offered an important opportunity for such international cooperation. It was a gathering of unprecedented scale and attracted worldwide attention. Leaders from over 100 countries and senior officials from the United Nations and its specialized agencies as well as other international organizations were present at the meeting, fully demonstrating the great attention that the international community pays to the issue of climate change and the strong political will that it embraces to rise up to the challenge through closer cooperation. Thanks to the concerted efforts of all parties, the conference produced important and positive outcomes. First, the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol was firmly upheld. Second, new and solid steps were taken in relation to the mandatory emissions reductions by developed countries and voluntary mitigation actions by developing countries. Third, broad consensus was reached on such focal issues as the global long-term target, financial and technological support, and transparency.

Mr. Yang said Premier Wen's participation in the meeting testified to the strong sense of responsibility of the Chinese government to its own people, people around the world and the future of mankind. During the two days in Copenhagen, Premier Wen delivered an important speech at the high-level event and had extensive contact and coordination with other leaders. Braving difficulties, Premier Wen made the best of the situation and worked hard for a positive outcome. He both upheld principles and showed flexibility. He made the utmost effort and tried every possible means to move forward the negotiations along the right track, thus playing a critical role. It is fair to say that China, with its sincerity, resolve and confidence, made important contribution to strengthening international cooperation on climate change at Copenhagen, and displayed the image of a responsible big country committed to development and cooperation.

First, upholding principles and maintaining the foundation of international cooperation on climate change

Mr. Yang said that developing and developed countries differ greatly in historical emission responsibilities and current emission levels. They are also different in terms of national circumstances and stage of development. It is therefore only natural that they shoulder different responsibilities and obligations in the campaign against climate change. In the past few years, there has occurred in the world a tendency to play down differentiated responsibilities while highlighting common responsibilities, and to exert pressure on major emerging countries while trying to cajole poor nations and small island states. The real purpose is to totally deny the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities". The position of China, the largest developing country, is of critical importance and has been followed closely by many.

In his address at the Copenhagen Conference, Premier Wen Jiabao highlighted the following principles that all should observe in addressing climate change: First, maintain the consistency of outcomes. The outcome of the conference must stick to the basic principles enshrined in the Convention and the Protocol. It must follow rather than deviate from the mandate of the "Bali Roadmap". It should lock up rather than deny the consensus and progress already achieved in the negotiations. Second, uphold the fairness of rules. The principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" represents the core and bedrock of international cooperation on climate change, and it must never be compromised. Developed countries must take the lead in making deep quantified emission cuts and provide financial and technological support to developing countries. Developing countries should, with the financial and technological support of developed countries, do what they can to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change in the light of their national conditions. Third, pay attention to the practicality of the targets. In tackling climate change, we need to take a long-term perspective, but more importantly, we should focus on the present. We should focus on achieving near-term and mid-term reduction targets, honoring the commitments already made and taking real action. Fourth, ensure the effectiveness of institutions and mechanisms. We should make concrete and effective institutional arrangements under the Convention and urge developed countries to honor their commitments, provide sustained and adequate financial and technological support to developing countries, and take credible steps to help developing countries counter climate change.

These sensible and legitimate principles outlined by Premier Wen represent the shared aspiration of developing countries. They are both realistic and forward-looking, and have taken into account the interests of all parties. They pointed the way forward at a decisive moment of the conference, gave a strong push to the efforts to safeguard and advance the negotiation process, and therefore received wide support and endorsement.

Second, enhancing communication and making strenuous efforts for positive outcomes of the conference

Mr. Yang said that climate change concerns the real interests of all countries in the world. The differences and problems involved are highly complex and sensitive as can be seen from the heated debate during the Copenhagen Conference. The conference moved very slowly after its opening on 7 December, and the prospect looked extremely grim the day before its scheduled conclusion. People outside almost lost confidence in the ability of the conference to work out a last-minute agreement.

Before going to Copenhagen, Premier Wen held telephone conversations with leaders of India, Brazil, South Africa, Ethiopia, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom and the Secretary-General of the United Nations for a candid and in-depth exchange of views on matters of major importance. These conversations contributed to mutual understanding and effectively laid the groundwork for the conference.

Upon his arrival in Copenhagen, Premier Wen engaged in intensive shuttle diplomacy and talked to other participants in a candid, pragmatic, thoughtful and patient manner. He made the case that at this final moment of the conference, it was imperative for all countries to bear in mind the larger picture, proceed from the reality, accommodate each other's concerns and adhere to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities". He called on all parties to build consensus quickly in a spirit of seeking common ground while reserving differences and push forward in an effective way the negotiation process, thereby sending a message of hope and confidence to the world.

Premier Wen met with leaders of other BASIC countries on multiple occasions, including Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and South African President Jacob Zuma. He highlighted the point that being big developing countries, the four countries had important common interests, shared positions and identical goals in tackling climate change. We should enhance solidarity and coordination, always stand up for developing countries and strive for maximal interests for developing countries.

Small island states, least developed countries and countries in Africa are most vulnerable to climate change and have special concerns on financing and global temperature control. Premier Wen showed full understanding and sympathy to the leaders of these countries and gave staunch support to their legitimate demands. He also stated China's willingness to continue to provide them with support and assistance to the best of China's ability within the South-South cooperation framework and through bilateral channels.

In his meetings with US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Premier Wen presented reasonable and convincing arguments and urged developed countries to honor their commitments and obligations in real earnest and enhance mutual trust.

Premier Wen also worked actively with his Danish host, Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Premier Wen expressed the hope that they would listen to the views from all sides and uphold justice by taking seriously the concerns of developing countries. He said it was of particular importance to follow the principles of fairness, openness and transparency in effectively moving forward the drafting of and consultations on the outcome document.

The unremitting efforts of Premier Wen drove home to all sides that differences could be bridged and consensus reached only with mutual respect, equal consultation, seeking common ground while reserving differences and practical cooperation. Many state leaders said to Premier Wen that they hoped all the other parties could be as active, constructive and responsible as China and make the utmost effort in order for the conference to reach results.

Third, building trust and dispelling misgivings to deepen international understanding and support for China

Mr. Yang said that China has made tremendous efforts to tackle climate change and its notable achievements have been widely acclaimed by the international community. But there are some people who have misunderstandings and misgivings about China and have raised unreasonable demands on China. They have pressed China to undertake mandatory emissions reduction commitments, claiming that China's emissions reduction measures are not strong enough. Some have asked China to place its voluntary mitigation target under international verification, and even pressed for a linkage between China's voluntary target and the provision of financing by the developed countries to the developing countries.

Premier Wen responded to the pressure with calm and illustrated China's effort in tackling climate change with facts and reason. He stated that China was the first developing country to adopt and implement a National Climate Change Program, China has made the most intensive efforts in energy conservation and pollution reduction in recent years, China has enjoyed the fastest growth of new energy and renewable energy and China has the largest area of man-made forests in the world. China's climate efforts do not pale in comparison with those of any developed nation.

Premier Wen also pointed out that China is still a developing country and it faces the arduous task of developing the economy and improving people's livelihood. China is at a critical stage of industrialization and urbanization. With coal being its primary source of energy, China is confronted with special difficulties in reducing emissions. It will take tremendous efforts for us to cut CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45% by 2020 from the 2005 level. What we have undertaken to do are voluntary mitigation actions and these actions are subject to the supervision of domestic law and public opinion. China is ready to actively engage in international exchanges, dialogue and cooperation with respect to the release of relevant information. Premier Wen stressed that China's voluntary emissions reduction target is scientific and reasonable. It has no conditions attached and is not linked to the emissions reduction target of any other country. At the same time, our target is non-negotiable.

The Chinese delegation set up a China Information and Communication Center in Copenhagen, which served as a platform for government officials, experts, scholars and business representatives to have diverse forms of interactions and exchanges with the media and people from various sectors and provide comprehensive information on China's policies and measures. Their briefings were well received. They presented to the world a China that is open, confident and cooperative.

Many developing countries praised China for setting a good example in the international efforts to tackle climate change. Some developed countries also believed that China's target for controlling greenhouse gas emissions is ambitious and impressive. According to some authoritative foreign experts, China's target for emissions reduction is strong and ambitious by any standard and accusations against China are "not honest".

Mr. Yang concluded his briefing by saying that tackling climate change is a long and uphill journey. The Copenhagen Conference is not the end. Rather, it is a new starting point. All countries should work tirelessly under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" to honor their respective commitments and fulfill their due obligations. As Premier Wen put it, China will be firmly committed to sustainable development and work hard to meet and even exceed the mitigation target it has voluntarily set for itself. China will continue to work with the rest of the international community and make its due contributions to mankind's historical process of combating climate change.

3. China refutes British official's "hijack" attack over Copenhagen talks

BEIJING, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu early Tuesday morning refuted a British official who said China "hijacked" the climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The remarks against China by "an individual British politician "contained "obvious political attempts," as they were made with the aim of escaping obligations and fomenting discord among developing countries, said Jiang.

Jiang's comments came after British climate change secretary Ed Miliband's published an article on the Guardian saying China tried to "hijack" the Copenhagen climate conference.

Jiang said such an attack was made in order to shirk the obligations of developed countries to their developing counterparts and foment discord among developing countries, but the attempt was doomed to fail, said Jiang.

"We urge them to correct mistakes, fulfill their obligations to developing countries in an earnest way, and stay away from activities that hinder the international community's cooperation in coping with climate change," she said.

Jiang noted as a result of a concerted efforts of all parties, the Copenhagen conference yielded fruit, reached broad consensus and won support from developing nations.

China had made arduous efforts to push forward the progress of the talks, and contributed to safeguarding the rights of developing countries, which was obvious to all and undoubtable, she said.

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