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Climate change 'new highlight' for Sino-US ties

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-11 06:27

WASHINGTON - A senior Chinese official said here Wednesday that climate change will be "a new highlight" of Sino-US cooperation as the two countries work together to create a new type of major-country relationship.

Xie Zhenhua, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, made the remarks at a press conference on the first day of the two-day fifth China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in Washington.

Xie said a working group on climate change, which was initiated after the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to China in April, has identified five priority areas to further strength bilateral cooperation.

The areas Xie mentioned also included reducing emissions from heavy-duty and other vehicles, promoting smart grids, increasing energy efficiency in buildings and industry, strengthening capacity building, as well as improving greenhouse gas data collection and management.

He said the recommendations have been approved by four special representatives of the two countries' presidents, including Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi as well as Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, during the high-level dialogue's session on climate change Wednesday morning.

"We have agreed to carry out studies and support other developing countries in improving their capacities in addressing climate change," Xie said. "In the meantime, we'll also strengthen communication and dialogue between the two governments to promote the multilateral climate change negotiation progress."

Xie said both countries have also agreed to strive for a new international agreement on climate change in 2015 and urged other countries to seriously implement the consensus decisions they made in Doha last year and to honor their commitments they made in previous climate talks.

"I think that only by honoring the commitments and fulfilling the obligations, could we lay a solid foundation for political mutual trust," Xie said. "As for the new negotiation process, we should also follow very strictly basic principles of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to try to reach a new agreement in 2015, and that's the objective of the working group on climate change between China and the US."

China and the United States have been holding the annual S&ED talks since 2009, when Obama came to power, as a major channel of communication to enhance mutual trust, boost cooperation and properly handle differences.

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