China's commitment to green development is unwavering, Xi tells UK's Johnson

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday stressed that China's determination to accelerate green and low-carbon development is unwavering and China will honor its commitments.

President Xi made his remarks during a phone conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose country will host the 26th United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, between October 31 and November 12.

In a statement Downing Street described the meeting as "an extensive conversation," covering a range of issues, including action to address the climate crisis ahead of COP26, global trade and economic cooperation, and security and human rights.

According to Xi, China's goal of peaking its carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 and a series of vigorous initiatives to scale up its nationally determined contribution imply the country's broad and profound economic and social transformation, which requires gradual and painstaking efforts.

Voicing his support for the UK's presidency role of the COP26, Xi told Johnson that the conference should adhere to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and prompt countries to turn high ambitions into real action.



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Prime Minister Johnson acknowledged China's new Nationally Determined Contribution and welcomed its work on the COP15 Biodiversity Summit, noting how critical protecting nature is to our overall climate objectives.

He emphasised the importance of all countries stepping up their ambition on climate change at COP26 and taking action to cut emissions and expedite the transition to renewable energy, including phasing out coal.


Vice Minister of Ecology and Environment Ye Min unveiled China's new climate commitments at a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday. Reuters/Martin Pollard

Vice Minister of Ecology and Environment Ye Min unveiled China's new climate commitments at a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday. Reuters/Martin Pollard

Xi pointed out there are both opportunities and challenges for China-UK relations.

As permanent members of the UN Security Council and major economies of the world, China and the UK should maintain good communication, strengthen cooperation and contribute to the world's fight against the pandemic, improve global governance and achieve development and prosperity, he said.

For China-Britain relations to achieve sound development, Xi stressed mutual trust was the foundation, understanding is the precondition, and proper management of differences is the key.

He said China views China-UK relations from a strategic and long-term perspective and hopes that the British side will respect the facts and take a comprehensive and objective view of China's development path and system.

Downing Street said the two leaders recognised that there were areas of disagreement and difficulty in the bilateral relationship and that the UK prime minister raised the United Kingdom's concerns about what it calls the erosion of democracy in Hong Kong and human rights in Xinjiang.

But at the same time, they agreed to cooperate on areas of shared interest, such as developing clean and green technology and supporting the sustainable recovery of the global economy.

Xi said that China welcomes the British side exporting more quality products to China and expanding cooperation in fields including healthcare, green development, digital economy, finance and innovation.

President Xi also voiced the hope that the British side will provide fair, equitable and non-discriminatory treatment for Chinese enterprises, saying that China will also provide convenience for British enterprises in China.

The two sides should take the Beijing Winter Olympics as an opportunity to enhance sports cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, Xi said.

He also urged both sides to practice genuine multilateralism and welcomed the British side to participate in the Global Development Initiative to give impetus to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Johnson said he values bilateral ties, noting both sides need to strengthen frank dialogue and friendly cooperation.

The British side is willing to deepen cooperation with China in economic and trade, education, clean energy and other fields, and provide an open business environment for Chinese enterprises; and welcomes Chinese enterprises to invest and cooperate in the UK, he added.

The British prime minister also congratulated China on the success of the first part of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, adding that the UK looks forward to maintaining close communication with China on addressing global climate change and biodiversity conservation issues, and working to promote balanced and sustainable development worldwide.

Cover picture: Wind turbines on a power station near Yumen, Gansu province, China. Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

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