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Chinese official: Stern lacks "common sense"

By Juliet Eilperin

COPENHAGEN--China's Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei criticized the top U.S. climate envoy Friday as either lacking "common sense" or being "extremely irresponsible" for saying the United States would not help China financially to cope with global warming.

In a press conference, He said he was "shocked" that Todd Stern, the chief U.S. climate negotiator, said America would not direct its tax dollars to China as part of the global deal negotiators are seeking here in Copehagen.

"I don't want to say the gentleman is ignorant," He said. "I think he lacks common sense where he made such a comment vis-a-vis funds for China. Either lack of common sense or extremely irresponsible."

On Wednesday Stern told reporters, "I don't envision public funds -- certainly not from the United States -- going to China. China to its great credit has a dynamic economy, and sits on some two trillion dollars in reserves. So we don't think China would be the first candidate for public funding."

Stern made an effort to repair the rift Friday, saying that while He's "particular comments were a bit unfortunate" he has the utmost "respect" for the vice foreign minister.

Stern emphasized that he had spent much of the past year trying to reach some sort of understanding on a global climate deal with his Chinese counterparts.

"We can get there with China," he said.


Juliet Eilperin

 |  December 11, 2009; 12:59 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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