China's foreign minister Wang Yi takes swipe at US during UN climate summit

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 24, 2019, 01.23 AM(IST)

File photo: Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi. Photograph:( AFP )

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China is the world's biggest carbon emitter by far but also a leader in renewables.

China on Monday called on developed countries to lead by example in reducing emissions as dozens of world leaders gathered at the United Nations Climate Summit on Monday to discuss measures to try and slowdown ever-more dangerous trends in climate change. 

China which is the world's biggest carbon emitter by far but also a leader in renewables was represented by foreign minister Wang Yi at the summit.

The Chinese foreign minister said: "We must honour our commitments, follow through on the Paris Agreement and its implementation guidelines and see to it that both the summit and the COP25 will produce positive outcomes that will we inject fresh impetus into the post-2020 multilateral process." 

Meanwhile, Yi also took a dig at the US saying that it would continue to fight global warming without "certain parties".

"The withdrawal of certain parties will not shake the collective will of the international community nor will it possibly reverse the historical trend of international cooperation," Yi said in reference to the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement under President Donald Trump.

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The Chinese foreign minister also told world leaders that his country would honour its obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement. However, he failed to make any fresh pledges to curb carbon dioxide emissions.

He also vowed that China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) - President Xi Jinping's controversial plan to rebuild the old Silk Road to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond - would be green and sustainable.

"We will continue to jointly build a Green Belt and Road through the BRI International Green Development Coalition and other platforms. We are mobilising stronger support for international cooperation against climate change," Yi said.

China had previously concentrated on reducing emissions from its heavy industrial sectors, while maintaining high levels of economic growth, but the approach has been subject to diminishing returns.

It recently changed plans to "proactively promote" nature-based solutions such as reforestation and the expansion of grasslands and wetlands. Total forest reserves in the country rose by 4.56 billion cubic meters between 2005 and 2018, and forests now account for just under 23 per cent of total land.

(With inputs from agencies)