China, France hold climate talks with UN secretary-general, emphasizing global cooperation

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, UN Secretary-General Guterres and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at a press conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Friday Photo:

China will firmly stick to its commitment to implementing the Paris climate agreement, which the United States has withdrawn from, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday.

Wang made the remarks at a press conference held on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where leaders from the Group of 20 nations are gathering for talks on issues involving the future development of the world.

"China has a strong belief to combat climate change and will put the international climate agreement into action. China will follow a path that focuses on green, low-carbon and sustainable development," said Wang at the press conference.

China will seek multilateral cooperation to improve global climate governance and will support low-carbon development in the areas covered by the Belt and Road Initiative through the south-south cooperation, said Wang, who also called on other nations to fulfill their commitments to practically implementing the Paris climate agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Next week, the 24th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) will be held in Katowice, Poland. The COP24 will be the most important talks on climate change since the Paris climate agreement was reached in 2015.

COP24 is significant because 2018 marks the deadline agreed by the signatory countries of the Paris climate agreement to adopt a work program for the implementation of the commitments they made three years ago, said the United Nations.

The Friday press conference was held after a meeting between Wang, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, where the three leaders expressed hope the G20 summit would give a political impetus to the success of COP24.

At the press conference, the French foreign minister thought highly of the France-China cooperation in combating climate change and protecting biodiversity, and the UN secretary-general thanked China and France for their efforts in implementing the Paris climate agreement.

The three leaders also released a joint statement calling for balanced, comprehensive, robust and operational rules that "respect the letter and the spirit of the Paris Agreement".

While the ministers of China and France and UN Secretary-General Guterres were holding their meeting, Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto were signing the new US Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA, in Buenos Aires on Friday. The trade deal will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Some experts say that China is using climate change to build ties with other nations at the G20 summit during which Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump are set to meet to reduce trade tensions between the two countries.

In June 2017, Trump announced to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change and seek a new "fair" pact that would not disadvantage US businesses and workers.

The Paris climate agreement commits the signatory countries to keeping rising global temperatures "well below" 2C above pre-industrial levels and "endeavor to limit" them even more, to 1.5C.

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