Foreign and Military Affairs

Premier Wen at Copenhagen conference

(Xinhua News Agency/People's Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-25 17:14
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At the Bella Center, many leaders were seen making hasty departures with stern looks. Journalists were packing up equipments and deserted used paper was everywhere on the floor. And people were paying more attention to when and how the Danish government would announce that this largest and highest-level conference in UN history had ended in failure.

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At this final moment, Premier Wen Jiabao once again played a crucial role. He called a meeting of the Chinese delegation and made a clear and realistic analysis of the situation. He said that it was no longer possible to reach a legally binding document now, yet all parties knew full well what a fruitless conference would mean and no one wanted to be held responsible for the failure. Premier Wen said that as long as there was 1% hope, we must exert 100% efforts and not give up easily. He decided on the spot to meet with President Lula, Prime Minister Singh and President Zuma again to make the last-ditch effort. At the same time, President Obama also proposed a second meeting with Premier Wen. Premier Wen agreed to meet with him after talking to the BASIC leaders.

After a short while, leaders of the BASIC countries arrived at the meeting room of the Chinese delegation. They shared the view that there was the danger of a failed conference, and agreed that the BASIC countries could first reach consensus on the key issues and then talk to the Europeans and the United States with maximum flexibility on the basis of sticking to principles and upholding the interests of developing countries. They maintained that every effort must be made for some results at the conference. Premier Wen Jiabao laid particular emphasis on the need to keep in touch and enhance cooperation with the African countries, the G77 and small island states.

At 18:50, when leaders of the BASIC countries were doing the final review of their common position, they heard a clamor of voices outside. The door was opened and there stood President Obama. Although the scheduled time for the second China-US meeting had passed, Obama's presence at that moment and that place still came as a surprise to the people inside.

President Obama must, too, have felt a bit awkward. With one foot inside the door, he smiled and asked, "Premier Wen, am I early? Which do you prefer, me waiting outside or joining you?" Premier Wen stood up and welcomed him courteously. President Obama was apparently touched. He first walked around the room, shaking hands with everyone inside, and then sat down on President Lula's left and across the table facing Premier Wen.

As all the BASIC countries already had prior bilateral contact with the United States, they were well aware of each other's position. Premier Wen started the discussion by stating that efforts must be made to adopt a decision at the conference to recognize the results and build consensus. He explained to President Obama the position of the BASIC countries on several key issues. President Obama also updated the four countries on the US position. He said that the two sides were already very close on the wording concerning these issues. Leaders of the five countries then continued to have serious consultations.

Journalists waiting outside had been watching what was going on in the room. Some shot pictures through the glass door. And soon they heard the sound of applause from inside the room. After consultations, the BASIC countries reached agreement with the United States on the formulations of several key issues in the draft document. The US side offered to consult with the EU about what was just agreed upon.

The United States then had consultations with the EU countries, and the BASIC countries also held discussions with other countries. Later, some countries held a small-group consultation on the draft text.

Word came in an hour later that the relevant parties had reached consensus on a draft resolution and would soon submit it to the plenary for a vote. It was already nine hours behind the scheduled closing time of the conference.

What followed was some procedural work, and leaders thus started to leave Copenhagen. They had overfulfilled their task in attending the high-level event.

The final outcome of the Copenhagen conference was in no way dictated by one or two countries. Rather, it was the result of the concerted efforts of all countries. Yet, one can see from the tortuous and hard process that China played a vital role.

International media have had different readings of the outcome of the Copenhagen conference in recent days, but one thing is certain, that is, thanks to the joint efforts of the international community, international cooperation on climate change moved one step forward along the right track and a message of confidence and hope was sent out to the whole world. China made the utmost efforts with maximum sincerity, and played an important and constructive role to this end.

In a recent interview with the Xinhua News Agency, Premier Wen said that, with the Copenhagen conference as a new starting point, China is ready to work with other parties to honor commitments, enhance cooperation, complete the "Bali Roadmap" negotiations at an early date, and strive for continued progress in the international cooperation on climate change, thus making its due contribution to mankind's response to climate change.

History has shown once again that the biggest challenge of mankind is mankind itself. Unity is the source of strength and cooperation leads to a bright future. The Copenhagen conference has put China on a higher and broader world stage. China has reason to be proud and China will work even harder!

Verdant mountains cannot stop water flowing; eastward the water keeps on going. The Copenhagen conference is a new starting point and from here, the international process of combating climate change will keep forging ahead.

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