From: Reuters
Published February 4, 2008 11:29 PM

China asks for more leeway on greenhouse gas

By Rob Taylor

CANBERRA (Reuters) - China said on Tuesday it should be given more leeway over its rising greenhouse gas emissions as it was a world manufacturer and exporter, benefiting people at home and internationally.

"China is a manufacturing country. China produces lots of goods which are not only used in China, but all over the world," Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told reporters in Australia.

"So this greenhouse gas emission is not just for meeting the needs of the Chinese people's daily necessities, but meeting the needs of many people in the world, especially the low-income people in the world," Yang said.

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Yang was in Australia for meetings with the new centre-left Labor government of Mandarin-speaking Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Rudd, Yang and his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith talked over regional security during breakfast at Parliament in Canberra and agreed to strengthen ties between the two countries.

But speaking afterwards, Yang said developed nations bore the main responsibility for climate shift linked to greenhouse gases, and it was up to them to take the lead in capping emissions.

"First, China is doing its utmost and it will continue to do its utmost," Yang said. "Second is that the per-capita greenhouse gas emission in China is only about one-third of that of the developed countries."

Rudd made ratification of the Kyoto Protocol his first priority after winning November elections, overturning former conservative backing for U.S. opposition to the pact and leaving Washington isolated on climate change among developed countries.

Smith reassured Yang that Australia, a close ally of Washington, would not allow India to take part in yearly security talks between Australia, Japan and the United States, a suggestion raised by Tokyo last year.

"I indicated when I was in Japan (last week) that Australia would not be proposing to have a dialogue of that nature," Smith said.

Smith also told Yang that Australia, which does not recognize Taiwan, opposed Taipei's move to hold a referendum on independence for the island, which China regards as a renegade province.

Yang underscored Beijing's place as Australia's biggest trading partner, with two-way trade topping A$50 billion ($45 billion) last year, and said ties with Canberra were growing.

But that did not have to come at the expense of Australia's 56-year strategic alliance with the United States, he said, with relations between the two global rivals itself improving.

"We believe that last year the China-U.S. relationship actually remained stable and some new progress has been made in some very important areas," Yang said.

Both Yang and Smith backed a re-energized United Nations in shaping world affairs, marking a divergence from decade-long Australian foreign policy under the conservatives, which mirrored U.S. criticism of the world body.

Smith last week said Australia hoped to gain a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council.

(Editing by Katie Nguyen)

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