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Nations join hands on climate change
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China is ready to join East Asian nations in addressing climate change and promoting clean and sustainable development in the region, Premier Wen Jiabao said Wednesday.


He made the pledge in a keynote speech at the 3rd East Asia Summit in Singapore.


Leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its dialogue countries - China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand - adopted a declaration on climate change, energy and the environment at the end of their meeting


The leaders pledged in the declaration to "participate actively" in developing a more effective international climate change framework beyond 2013.


The 16 countries will seek to increase cumulative forest cover in the region by at least 15 million hectares of all types of forests - absorbers of carbon dioxide - by 2020, according to the pact. It also calls for promoting the use of nuclear energy, biofuels and other forms of cleaner energy.


Wen said China will work with countries in the region to translate the goal set in the declaration into action.


He said some people who blame China for its aggregate gas emissions "ignore some basic facts".


China is home to 21 percent of the world's population and its per capita emissions of carbon dioxide are less than a third of the average level of developed countries, he said.


"China's 'development emissions' will see some increase as we endeavor to improve the living standards and quality of life for 1.3 billion people," Wen said.


Besides, as a major manufacturing country, China makes products for consumers across the world, but is under growing pressure of "transfer emissions".


"We hope these two factors are taken into full account when talking about China's emissions," he said.


The declaration "reaffirms our commitment to tackle climate change and contribute to global mitigation efforts," Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the outset of the one-day summit which he chaired.


The East Asia Summit, which comprises both developed and developing countries, as well as major emitters and massive carbon sinks, can play a unique role in shaping the global consensus on the way forward, Lee said, adding that the declaration will provide impetus for the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali next month.


Japan, as host of next year's Group of Eight summit, pledged to provide $2 billion in aid over the next five years for tackling environmental problems in East Asia, such as water and air pollution.


Wen wound up his hectic four-day official visit to Singapore after the summit.


He also attended the 13th ASEAN plus China, Japan and ROK (10+3) and ASEAN plus China (10+1) summits as well as the 8th leaders' meeting of China, Japan and the ROK.


In addition, he held a series of bilateral meetings with leaders on the sidelines of the summits. Wen returned to Beijing last night.


(China Daily November 22, 2007)

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