Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) holds a welcome ceremony for Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne in Beijing, China, Aug. 26, 2014. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)
BEIJING, Aug. 26 -- China's carbon emission has declined by 5 percent this year, the largest progress in recent years, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday.
"China's economy maintained medium-high growth in the first half of this year while its carbon emission has achieved the largest reduction this year, down by 5 percent year on year," Li said in his talks with Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, an island country in the Caribbean.
Browne is on his first China visit since his government took office in June. Climate change has been a major topic of discussion for the two leaders during his visit to Beijing.
Li stressed the Chinese government attaches great importance to climate change and has made arduous efforts in this regard. He said China's 1.3 billion people must understand the importance of energy and environment to realize modernization.
"China will speed up a green and low-carbon economy through reform and innovation in order to follow a sustainable development path," Li said.
The premier said China understands island countries' aspirations as well as their developmental limits. He said China is willing to provide assistance to Antigua and Barbuda, enhance each other's capability to adapt to and address climate change while safeguarding the developing countries' interests.
Despite differences in national conditions, China and Antigua and Barbuda both face the enormous task of growing the economy and improving people's well-being, Li said, calling for more partnership in infrastructure and green growth.
"We are willing to deepen mutual political trust and strengthen cooperation in infrastructure development such as road, airport and port construction," Li said.
Both countries should combine their respective advantages, share experiences in clean energy development and expand people-to-people exchanges to upgrade bilateral cooperation, Li added.
Browne said China has provided long-time support to developing countries like Antigua and Barbuda in addressing climate change and other global challenges and safeguarded developing countries' common interests.
Enhancing strong relations with China is the "central element of foreign policy" of Antigua and Barbuda, Browne said, adding that his country stands ready to boost cooperation with China in various areas.
Browne welcomed Chinese businesses and tourists to invest and travel in Antigua and Barbuda, saying his country will offer visa facilitation. Both sides agreed to strengthen China- Caribbean relations. Li pointed out that China prioritizes its relations with Caribbean countries and is willing to enhance communication with them on United Nations reform and other international and regional affairs.
The premier hoped Antigua and Barbuda, as rotating chair of Caribbean Community, will make new contributions in enhancing China-Caribbean and China-Latin American relations.
Caribbean states have a strong will to cooperate with China and Antigua and Barbuda will play an active role in promoting Caribbean-China ties, Browne said.
Browne expressed sympathy to China over a quake that caused mass casualty in Ludian, Yunnan on Aug. 3 while Li thanked him for sending a letter of sympathy immediately after the quake and setting Aug. 6 as a national mourning day. Li stressed the Chinese government will spare no effort in post-quake reconstruction.
Prior to the talks, Li held a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People. After the talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of cooperative documents on bilateral economic technology, health and climate change.
Browne is on an official visit to China from Aug. 25 to 31 at the invitation of Li. Browne will also attend the closing ceremony of the second Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province.