TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Mar10/02)
Chinese PM clarifies
what happened in
At a news conference on Sunday (14 March) at the Great Hall of the People, attended by more than 800 Chinese and foreign reporters to mark the conclusion of the 10-day annual session of the National People's Congress (the country's parliament), Wen for the first time spoke publicly on the climate talks in Copenhagen that had ended in chaos and mistrust.
An article in the Asian Wall Street Journal (15 March) reported that Wen "showed flashes of emotion as he sought to correct a widespread belief that he snubbed [US President Barack Obama] by sending a lower-ranking official to a meeting".
According to the Journal,
Wen quoted an ancient Chinese proverb, "My conscience is clear
despite the slander of others". Instead, he argued, it was
Wen clarified that he and the Chinese delegation had not received any invitation to that meeting held after a banquet hosted for attending heads of state and government by Danish Queen Margrethe II on 17 December.
The 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 5th Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol were held on 7-18 December.
Due to the controversial "Copenhagen Accord" - a political document that failed to get consensus of the Convention Parties and was finally only "taken note of" - the closing plenary started only in the early hours of 19 December and ended late afternoon of that day when almost all the leaders had left.
There was confusion and frustration caused by un-transparent meetings of small groups of leaders convened, reportedly by the Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, to strike a political deal so that Copenhagen would not be perceived as a failure.
This took place in the last two days of the conference even as technical negotiators who have worked for more than two years continued to strive for agreement with some potential breakthroughs.
In the aftermath of
From various accounts
by diplomats who were in
At last Sunday's news conference, Wen said he learned from a European country's leader, at a banquet hosted by the Danish Queen, about the meeting that would be held later in the evening, and saw China was on the list of the meeting's participating countries.
He immediately told the Chinese delegation to check and confirmed that no notification had been received.
However, he decided to send Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei to the meeting on behalf of the Chinese delegation.
According to a 14 March
Xinhua report on the Sunday's news conference, Wen said that the diplomatic
snub and ensuing rebukes against the Chinese delegation during last
"I was shocked
as I had received no notification that
The premier made the
remarks when a foreign journalist asked for comment on his "decision
not to attend a key meeting" and the Chinese delegation to the
"It still perplexes
me why some people keep trying to make an issue about
A detailed account
of the 60 hours Wen spent in
According to this account, "At a banquet hosted by Danish Queen Margrethe II on December 17 evening, Premier Wen was told that the United States would hold a small-scope meeting between several countries' leaders after the dinner.
"During his talk
with a foreign leader, Premier Wen learnt
"Why was the Chinese delegation not informed? Premier Wen felt quite astonished and was vigilant after he confirmed the meeting with other foreign leaders".
At last Sunday's news conference, Wen also spoke of the letters he had written to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, respectively, at the end of January expressing in clear-cut terms that China highly commends and supports the Copenhagen Accord.
Those same letters
"The issue of climate change concerns human survival, the interests of all countries, and equity and justice in our international communities," Wen reportedly said. "We are fully justified to stick to the principle of 'common but differentiated responsibilities'".