The global financial crisis will not lessen China's resolve to combat global warming, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday, a day before US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Beijing.
Climate change is high on Clinton's agenda. Her maiden foreign trip has already taken her to Japan and Indonesia, and she arrived in Seoul, South Korea, yesterday.
For a long time, China has been fighting "climate change and has adopted a string of measures" on environmental protection, ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular briefing.
"The government's resolve to tackle climate change has not changed, and our actions have not weakened."
The Dec 7-18 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is scheduled to discuss ways to tackle global warming. It will also deliberate on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas emissions - an average of 5 percent cut from 2008 to 2012 taking 1990 as the base year.
"We are willing to work together with the international community to push the Copenhagen talks forward and make sure they yield a positive result," Jiang said.
Environmental organization Greenpeace yesterday issued an open letter to Clinton and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, urging the US and China to tackle climate change jointly.
The world can agree on a commitment in Copenhagen only if China and US join hands and play a leading role, the online letter said.
Clinton is scheduled to arrive in Beijing tonight, accompanied by US special envoy for climate change Todd Stern. Visiting a clean thermal power plant in China is part of her itinerary.
Before leaving on her tour, she said she would "press the case" for greater energy efficiency and clean energy during her meetings with Asian leaders.
Peking University professor Zhang Haibin, who specializes in environmental politics, said the two countries should lift climate change to a strategic level in their bilateral ties by setting up a "persistent dialogue scheme".
"The US should listen more and understand China's concerns," he said, though Beijing has a lot to learn from Washington, especially in research.
(China Daily February 20, 2009)