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China urges rich nations to "show sincerity" ahead of Cancun climate talks

BEIJING, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- China on Friday said a package of decisions could be clinched at the high-level climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, but called on developed nations to show sincerity to bridge differences with developing countries.

"By working from the easier issues, the delegates at the Cancun conference may be able to reach a balanced package of decisions on consensus issues like financial resources, technology, adaptation and forestry," said Huang Huikang, special representative for climate change negotiations of China's Foreign Ministry.

"For other disputed issues, the delegates should continue to take a cooperative attitude to lay a foundation for the completion of the Bali Road Map negotiations at the South Africa conference," Huang told a news briefing. South Africa is the host of next climate change talks late next year.

The Bali agreement, reached in late 2007 in Bali, Indonesia, is aimed at finalizing a legally-binding international treaty on tackling climate challenges in the long term.

As the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last year failed to reach any legally-binding treaty for the years beyond 2012, expectations for the Cancun conference are modest.

The conference, lasting from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10., will gather leaders or their representatives from 180 countries. China will dispatch a high-level delegation of officials from various departments and ministries.

The major gaps between rich and poor nations relate to whether to include all the major greenhouse gas emitters in a new treaty or to extend the Kyoto Protocol, which sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2012.

Rich countries want a new treaty to include all the major emitters while developing countries, including China, urge rich nations to take the lead in the mitigation process and offer far more carbon cuts.

"The issue on the Kyoto Protocol may be the biggest dispute and is also the biggest obstacle as to why the climate talks cannot achieve expected outcomes," said Huang.

"Developed nations have the responsibility to take the lead in drastic emissions cuts, and offer funds and technology to developing nations," said Huang.

"It is their historic and moral responsibility and legal obligation; it is unconditional and should not be linked with other things," said Huang, calling on the developed nations to "show sincerity" and join with other countries to fight climate change.

"Though some say the climate talks are in deadlock and the Cancun conference is facing a grim picture, there are still wide expectations across the international community for a successful Cancun conference," said Huang.

Hang said developing nations, including China, face the tasks of developing their economies, eradicating poverty and improving people's lives and they should have reasonable increases in carbon emissions on the path of sustainable development.

"This is a legal right and should not be taken away," said Huang.

Responding to questions on China's large carbon emissions, Huang said China remained a developing country, and hoped other countries looked at greenhouse emissions more from a historic and per capita perspective.

"It is hard to forecast when China's peak period of emissions will come, but to my knowledge, the peak won't come soon," said Huang.

But Huang said China would make strenuous efforts to become a environment-friendly country.

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