Germany, China vow to deepen 'strategic partnership'

Elias Hubbard
June 4, 2017

Speaking at a business event with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Merkel said China and Germany saw the opportunities that globalization and digitalization presented and wanted to work together to bring about "global progress together".

Speaking to European business leaders alongside Li, Juncker said EU-China ties are underpinned by "a rules-based global system".

Germany and China vowed yesterday to expand their partnership, pledging to continue to fight climate change amid reports that United States President Donald Trump will quit a global deal.

Although neither Merkel nor Li referred to the United States or Trump by name during the press conference, German-Chinese cooperation is increasingly directed against the policies of the United States, which is turning to economic protectionism and preparing for a military confrontation with Iran and North Korea.

"The EU and China consider the Paris Agreement as an historic achievement further accelerating the irreversible global low greenhouse gas emission and climate resilient development", the statement says.

In a letter sent hours before Trump was due to announce on Thursday whether the US would pull out of the accord, the five leaders say the effects of global warming are already visible in all parts of our planet.

Both were key to reaching an agreement at Paris in 2015, which came into force in November and aims to keep global warming below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit compared with pre-industrial times.

Describing the agreement as "an imperative more important than ever", it explains that "the European Union and China are joining forces to forge ahead on the implementation of the Paris agreement and accelerate the global transition to clean energy".

European Council President Donald Tusk made a personal appeal to Mr Trump not to pull Washington out of the Paris climate agreement.

Yesterday, world leaders affirmed their commitment to combating climate change.

"We will continue to lobby the Americans and the White House to show the leadership they have shown in the past on reducing CO2, " he said.

While traveling overseas last week, Trump was repeatedly pressed to stay in the deal by European leaders and Pope Francis.

Some allies pointedly refrained from criticism, however, and Russian President Vladimir Putin even joked that Trump's move made him a convenient scapegoat for any bad weather.

The Kremlin says Russian Federation is committed to the Paris climate change accords.

Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists advocacy group, said "I don't think any other countries will follow the US out of Paris, so if he does leave, Trump will be in splendid isolation with the leaders of Syria and Nicaragua".

Under Merkel, a passionate fan of the United States as a teenager growing up in communist East Germany, Europe's richest country has been steadfast in its Atlanticism, even during the presidency of George W. Bush, which was marked by unilateral USA actions.

During a trip to Europe this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed India's commitment to fighting climate change and said it would be a "crime" to spoil the environment for future generations.

Bainimarama said the decision is a grave disappointment for places like his Pacific island nation and US coastal cities like NY and Miami that are vulnerable to climate change.

"Those who want to export their goods and services to our market also have to accept our standards", he added.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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