World

EU and China seek climate partnership

As US pullout looms, unlikely global partners reaffirm commitment to Paris pact

BRUSSELS: China and the European Union will today seek to save an international pact against climate change that US President Donald Trump appears to be set to pull out of.

With China emerging as Europe's unlikely global partner on areas from free trade to security, Premier Li Keqiang will meet top EU officials at a summit in Brussels that will also discuss North Korea's missile tests.

In a statement backed by all 28 EU states, the European Union and China will commit to full implementation of the Paris climate agreement, officials from both sides said.

The joint statement, the first between China and the EU, commits to cutting back on fossil fuels, developing more green technology and helping raise US$100 billion (S$138b) a year by 2020 to help poorer countries cut emissions.

"The EU and China consider climate action and the clean energy transition an imperative more important than ever," the statement, by European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Li, will say.

'IMPACTS'

"The increasing impacts of climate change require a decisive response."

China asked that the annual summit, normally held in mid-July, be brought forward to press home President Xi Jinping's defence of open trade at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, in response to Mr Trump's protectionist stance.

Mr Trump's plan to follow through on a campaign pledge to withdraw from the Paris accord, agreed on by nearly 200 countries in 2015, is now dominating talk, diplomats said.

China, which overtook the US as the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2007, is ready to support the EU, despite tensions on other issues from human rights to trade, according to China's ambassador to the EU, Ms Yang Yanyi.

"China and the EU need to steadfastly adhere to the Paris agreement," Ms Yang said.

The warmer EU-China relationship, partly spurred by Mr Trump, comes despite a long-running spat with Beijing on what Europe sees as China's dumping of low-cost goods on European markets.- REUTERS

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