Premier Wen defends China's development rights

08:16, December 28, 2009      

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China must fight for its right for further development while addressing climate change issues, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Sunday.

The fact that development was the top priority of developing nations must not be ignored, he said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

Wen urged all nations to recognize the hard-won results of the Copenhagen climate change conference this month and build consensus for future action against climate change.

"We should look forward and work together to address climate change. Chinese government will continue to stick to this position," he said.

Asked for his view of the different interpretations of the conference's outcomes internationally, Wen said China had made every effort to play a positive, constructive role in the conference.

"I must say we did our utmost and fully met our obligations," said Wen, who attended the final segment of the UN-led talks that ended with the Copenhagen Accord.

Although the document was not legally binding, it firmly upheld the basic framework and principles established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol.

The accord also further clarified the due obligations and actions of developed and developing countries respectively according to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities."

"We had always hoped to reach a legally binding document. But even when I attended the conference on Dec. 17, there was no single paper. Under such circumstances, we carried out intense mediation and finally helped push the conference one step forward," Wen said.

He urged the world to understand the fact that development remained the top priority of developing countries.

"Some say that we should not get bogged down by history (that industrialized countries contributed the majority of greenhouse gas emissions in past centuries). But this is a fact that we must face," he said.

Around the world 1.6 billion people still had no access to electricity while 2.3 billion people had to burn coal or wood to keep warm or to cook.

"Without looking at the history, one would never understand why there is a gap between the rich and the poor, not to mention the fact that developing countries regard development as their top concern," he said.

Despite progress in development in recent years, China still faced challenges, including its large population, unbalanced development among regions, and poverty, he said.

While China would not follow developed countries on their path to industrialization at the price of environment, "we must fight for China's due rights for development," Wen said.

As a big developing country, China took the lead in publishing its national action plan to address climate change. Without international aid, China voluntarily announced a target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40 to 45 percent from the 2005 level by 2020.

"These demonstrate that China is highly responsible in the matter of climate change," Wen said.

Source: Xinhua
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