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FM: China Urges Thoughtful Climate Change Action
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Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on Thursday that any international climate change action plan should bear in mind the interests of developing countries.

China's position is based on its rapid economic growth, massive population and its position as a manufacturing hub for richer nations, said Qin at a press conference in Beijing.

A Dutch government research body revealed on Tuesday that China's carbon dioxide emissions -- the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming – had surpassed that of the US by eight percent in 2006, making China the world's leader in CO2 emissions. 

However, Qin pointed out that in terms of yearly per-capita emissions of greenhouse gas, China stood at 3.66 tons, less than a third of the Netherlands' 11.4 tons.

"The key reason for current climate changes is the high per-capita emissions in industrialized nations," said the spokesman.

As a developing country, China was not forced to abide by the Kyoto Protocol, under which most industrialized countries pledged to reduce gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent between 2008 to 2012, lowering them to below the levels seen in 1990, said Qin.

In closing, Qin urged the international community to adopt a "cool-minded" and "rational" approach towards climate change.

Six-Party Talks

Also on Thursday, Qin announced that Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will visit the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) early next month to fuel hopes of a swift resumption to the six-party talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Yang will visit Pyongyang from July 2-4 as part of a three-nation trip that will also take him to Mongolia and Indonesia. During his stay in the DPRK, Yang will exchange views with North Korean officials on developing traditional friendly cooperation between the two countries, as well as other international issues of common concern and the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue".

Yang's trip will come on the heels of a rare visit to the DPRK by US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, who arrived in Pyongyang Thursday.

He was set to meet with DPRK counterpart to the six-party talks, Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan, the US State Department said.

Hill will then travel to the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Friday and then on to Japan on Saturday.

Hill's visit was arranged swiftly after the release of US$25 million in DPRK funds previously frozen at a Macao-based bank - a key financial dispute that had collapsed the last round of the multilateral talks.

"We want to get the six-party process moving," Hill said at Pyongyang's airport. "We hope that we can make up for some of the time that we lost this spring and so I'm looking forward to good discussions about that."

"We hope Hill's Pyongyang visit will help speed up the resumption of efforts to denuclearize the peninsula and lead to the normalization of US-DPRK relations," Qin said.

Observers say that sending a top US envoy to the DPRK prior to the shutting down of its reactor shows the Bush's administration real desire to move ahead in this nuclear standoff and bolster its foreign policy credentials amidst the Iraq debacle.

In a telephone conversation with ROK Foreign Minister Song Min-soon on Thursday, Yang said China urged all parties to continue honoring their commitments and thus lead to a favorable environment from which to move forward.

The DPRK has already invited International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to visit the country for the first time since their expulsion in December 2002.

Nanjing massacre denial

Commenting on a Japanese report issued by Diet lawmakers on June 19 denying the Nanjing massacre, Qin said these attempts to conceal historical facts would bring nothing but international condemnation. Qin stated that those who attempt such actions lack the courage to square up to history.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre, and China hopes Japan will handle all historical issues in a responsible manner, Qin added.

US fears over Chinese militarism

Commenting on the remarks by a US congressman labeling the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) as a threat to US armed forces, Qin said China's national defense policy is purely defensive in nature and seeks to develop military capability in a moderate and reasonable manner.

He said China's national defense capability is there only to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity and is at the service of world peace.

China's defense budget for 2007 is expected to hit 350.92 billion yuan (US$44.94 billion), accounting for 7.5 percent of the nation's budgeted fiscal expenditure.

Qin said the United States had repeatedly expressed its wishes to strengthen exchanges between the two armed forces, a desired shared by China.

"We hope such dialogues and exchanges will be expressed as achievements in the remarks of the US side," said Qin.
Darfur Issue

Turning to Darfur, Qin announced that a Chinese delegation headed by Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui would attend an international conference on Darfur issue on June 25 in Paris, during which Zhang would fully explain China's position on the affair.

"China supports all efforts that will bring peace to Darfur, "Qin added.

The conference, to be hosted by France on June 25, will be a ministerial meeting to discuss the crisis in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, gathering all major players in the crisis.

France has extended invitations to the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and the United States, South Africa, China as well as Sudan and other countries. However, the Sudanese government announced on June 12 that it would not be attending the conference.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency June 22, 2007)

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