Wen battles claims of 'arrogance'

By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-15 07:24
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Premier says China worked with other nations on climate accord

BEIJING: Premier Wen Jiabao fought back on Sunday at critics who claim China is arrogant on climate change issues, saying he was not even invited to a key meeting he has been accused of skipping.

Wen said neither he nor the Chinese delegation were invited to a Dec. 17 gathering of top leaders before the Copenhagen climate change summit, even though China was on the list of participating countries.

Wen's absent from the meeting and the Chinese delegation's attitude to the Copenhagen conference have being perceived as arrogance by Western countries.

"Why was China not notified of this meeting? So far no one has given us any explanation about this and it is still a mystery," Wen said at an annual press conference.

Wen said he was at a banquet hosted by the Danish queen when he learned from the leader of a European country that there was to be a meeting later that evening.

Wen sent Vice-Foreign Minister He Yafei to register a protest at the meeting, which was attended by leaders worldwide.

Wen said China remained fully committed to the nonbinding Copenhagen Accord, which requires developing countries to propose voluntary actions to combat climate change.

"China worked with other countries attending the Copenhagen conference and together we made the Copenhagen Accord possible," Wen said.

According to Wen, the result did not come easily and it was the best outcome possible on an issue concerning the major interests of all countries.

Wen's absence at the meeting was part of a series of controversies portraying China as being more aggressive and arrogant in its relations with other countries.

International analysts say that in the 30 years since China's reform and opening-up, the world has doubted China, seen China as a threat, asked China to take more responsibilities and now it has begun to accuse China of arrogance.

Pang Zhongying, professor at Renmin University of China, said the claim of arrogance is the product of cultural differences and the lack of a deep understanding of China.

He said Chinese people need to communicate more with people in other countries, from the governmental level to personal exchanges, to present a true picture of China to the world.