China hits out on climate change
German leader’s call for more action draws criticism against Western nations.
He added: “China has taken part of the responsibility for climate change for only 30 years while industrial countries have grown fast for the last 200 years.”
“China has taken part of the responsibility for climate change for only 30 years while industrial countries have grown fast for the last 200 years”
Wen Jiabao, China’s premier
China is set to overtake the US as the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases by 2008.
Merkel’s remark on climate change comes four months before a scheduled meeting of environmental ministers in Bali, Indonesia, for fresh talks on extending the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012.
At a June summit chaired by Merkel, G8 leaders agreed to pursue substantial but unspecified cuts in greenhouse gases and work with the UN on a new deal to fight global warming.
Kyoto obliges 35 rich nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but developing nations such as China – which is set to overtake the US by 2008 as the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases – are exempted.
Wen said “China’s development is an opportunity, not a threat”.
Merkel said she had attempted to dispel Chinese suspicions that other countries felt threatened by its development and were trying to block that growth.
But she said China needed to respect international norms, a nod to recent scandals over tainted or poisonous Chinese exports, rampant copyright piracy, and human rights abuses.
|Wen said Merkel’s remarks were “friendly” but
disagreed with her on climate change [Reuters]
“In our talks, I made clear that every country has the right to development,” Merkel said.
“But at present there are a great many large countries such as China that are developing fast and there is a need to respect the rules of the game.”
She pressed for stronger protection of intellectual property rights and said the ground rules for gathering resources should be the same worldwide, an apparent criticism of China‘s relations with Sudan.
China has sizeable economic interests in Sudan and Beijing has been accused of aiding Khartoum to feed the violence in the country’s war-torn Darfur region.
Wen also responded to reports in a German magazine that Chinese hackers had infected government ministries, including Merkel’s office, with spying programmes.
“We in the government took it as a matter of grave concern,” he said, adding that China would take “firm and effective action” to prevent hacking attacks.
But he also said that “hackers breaking into and sabotaging computers is a problem faced by the entire world”.
Merkel also met Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, on Monday and discussed human rights and ways of expanding relations beyond trade.
“I pointed out that, especially with the [2008 Beijing] Olympic Games coming up, the world will be looking at China with increased scrutiny,” she said.
She will head to Japan on Wednesday where she will also address climate change and economic issues.