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China snubs climate minister after Lama meeting

June 29, 2009

Friday, 26 June 2009 10:18 RC News

China has declined to take part in an informal climate meeting in Greenland
next week due to the prime minister's decision to meet with the Dalai Lama,
according to several experts in Chinese politics.

Both PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller met with
the exiled Tibetan leader last month, despite protests from the Chinese

Next week's meeting in Greenland has been organised by Climate Minister
Connie Hedegaard as a precursor to the UN Climate Change Conference due to
take place in Copenhagen this December.

Hedegaard believed that China's participation in the Greenland meeting could
have been an important step towards laying the foundations for the country's
agreement to considerable greenhouse gas reductions at the December summit.

But on 29 May the Chinese government indicated that Rasmussen and Møller's
meeting with the Dalai Lama had 'destroyed the friendly and co-operative
atmosphere between China and Denmark'. Experts now say China's refusal to go
to Greenland is the first repercussion from that meeting.

'It isn't costing the Chinese anything to not attend the Greenland meeting
because they'll just continue their bilateral negotiations with the US and
the UN,' Verner Worm, professor at Copenhagen Business School's Asia
Research Center, told Berlingske Tidende newspaper.'But for Denmark, as host
of the UN climate conference, it's a heavy blow.'

Clemens Stubbe Østergaard, China expert at Aarhus University, agreed.

'It's nerve-racking for us as the host that our relationship with the
Chinese has been damaged so close to the conference,' he said. 'But they
take the climate issue very seriously, so I don't think this means they
won't fight for a good agreement in Copenhagen.'

Neither Hedegaard nor Rasmussen have commented on China's declining to take
part in the Greenland meeting.
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