China rejects UK claims it hindered Copenhagen talks


BBC News | 2009/12/22 | 08:28:13 GMT

China has dismissed claims made by a British minister that it “hijacked” efforts to reach an agreement at the climate summit in Copenhagen. Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband had accused China of vetoing two agreements on limiting emissions. Beijing’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the accusations were a political plot made by leaders who wanted to shirk their own obligations. The summit ended without the 192 nations reaching a binding agreement. The delegates simply committed to “taking note” of a deal recognising the need to limit temperature rises to 2C. Jiang Yu did not mention Mr. Miliband by name, but in comments reported by the Xinhua state news agency, she said statements from “certain British politicians” were “plainly a political scheme.” The aim, she said, was “to shirk responsibilities that should be assumed towards developing countries, and to provoke discord among developing countries. This scheme will come to nothing,”

‘New beginning’

Writing in Britain’s Guardian newspaper on Sunday, Mr. Miliband said the vast majority of countries wanted a legally-binding treaty to protect the planet, but it seemed that four or five countries at the summit had been keen to “shelve the accord.” He said China had vetoed two proposed agreements on emissions cuts, “despite the support of a coalition of developed and the vast majority of developing countries.” Ms Jiang said Mr. Miliband and others behind the editorial should “correct their mistakes, fulfill their obligations to developing countries in an earnest way and stay away from activities that hinder the international community’s co-operation in coping with climate change.”    

The BBC’s Michael Bristow in Beijing says China believes it went to the talks in good faith and offering significant proposals, so does not want to be seen to be the cause of the failure to reach a more solid agreement. China and other big developing countries have long accused the world’s richer economies of failing to offer big enough emissions cuts, and of not offering enough help to other nations struggling to cope with climate change. On Monday, China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi praised the summit, saying it had been “not a destination, but a new beginning.” The final accord was reached between the US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa, but is not legally binding. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the agreement must be made legally binding next year.

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