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Cyclists pass through thick pollution from a factory in Yutian/AFP

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China says developed nations must lead in Rio

Cyclists pass through thick pollution from a factory in Yutian/AFP

Beijing, Jun 18 – China said Monday wealthy countries should take the lead in tackling climate change, repeating its long-held stance ahead of a global UN summit on poverty and the environment in Rio de Janeiro.

Premier Wen Jiabao will outline China’s approach when he addresses the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio this week, Vice Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng told reporters at a briefing in Beijing.

“The development of the green economy will be a long-term and daunting task, we believe the international community should strengthen cooperation in this area and avoid shortcomings,” said Xie.

“It is necessary to provide a favourable external environment for developing countries, in particular support for financing, technology and capacity building.”

Beijing has long insisted developed nations with their long industrial history take the lead in addressing global environmental issues such as curbing green house gas emissions.

That insistence on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” was central to the failings of the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit as developed nations baulked at undertaking the bulk of responsibility.

“Our position is when establishing sustainable development goals, the Rio principles should be adhered to, especially ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’,” foreign ministry official Tan Jian said at the briefing.

The Rio Conference on Sustainable Development is the 20-year follow-up to the Earth Summit, where UN members launched offensives to roll back climate change, desertification and species loss and work to root out poverty.

Its objective is to establish “Sustainable Development Goals” to replace the UN’s Millennium Development Goals after they expire in 2015, but defining them will be left to a later conference.

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Wen will also make official state visits to Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina, during his trip through Latin America which runs from June 20-26.

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