China’s President Xi says to uphold global climate deal

Source: By Philip Wen, Reuters • Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2017

China's President Xi Jinping speaks during a bilateral meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 7, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Chinese President Xi Jinping told French President-elect Emmanuel Macron in a phone call on Tuesday that he would uphold the Paris Agreement on curbing climate change.

China, the world’s top emitter of greenhouse gases, and France should “protect the global governance achievements contained within the Paris Agreement on climate change”, Xi told Macron, the Chinese foreign ministry said.

U.S. President Donald Trump has expressed scepticism about the deal and threatened to pull out. A meeting of his advisers that had been scheduled for Tuesday was postponed due to scheduling conflicts, a White House Official said.

Many nations want Trump to remain in the agreement, meant to rein in rising world temperatures by shifting toward cleaner energies such as wind and solar power, even though he plans to bolster the U.S. coal industry.

Macron told Trump in a phone call on Monday that he would also seek to defend the climate change deal agreed in Paris in 2015.

China has consistently reaffirmed its commitment to the Paris agreement. Climate change was widely seen as one of the few bright spots of cooperation between Beijing and the previous Obama administration in Washington.

Representatives of nearly 200 countries that are party to the agreement are meeting in Bonn from May 8-18 to discuss technical aspects of implementing the accord.

In their phone call on Tuesday, Xi congratulated Macron on his election win and emphasized China’s continued support for an integrated Europe and hopes that relations with France would “stride onto a new platform”.

The two leaders agreed to meet as soon as possible, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.

(Reporting and writing by Philip Wen; Editing by Alister Doyle and Janet Lawrence)