March 14, 2010
This morning in Beijing, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao explained at his press conference what actually happened in Copenhagen on 17 December 2009 on the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference, which gave rise to criticism of Chinese behaviour and even allegations of arrogance. It is remarkable that this is the first official version of what happened three months ago. There has been total silence by the Danish hosts.
According to Wen Jiabao, he did not learn of the meeting of a small group of leaders to be held after the banquet given by the Danes for participating leaders, until during the banquet itself. A European leader showed him the list of invited countries, which included China. He was subsequently told by the leader of a big emerging country that that he had just received an invitation to the meeting.
The Premier returned to his hotel and checked with the Chinese delegation that no invitation had been received. He therefore decided to send the Vice Foreign Minister to the meeting. Wen Jiabao said that President Obama had not yet arrived.
The Deputy Foreign Minister protested at the meeting and said that ‘I’ve arrived to attend the meeting uninvited.” Premier Wen did not disclose what anyone said in response. However, he said that no-one has given an explanation of why China was not invited and it remains a mystery.
• Why did Wen Jiabao not immediately contact the Danish hosts at the banquet?
• Why did he choose not to go when he knew that it was intended he be invited?
• Why have the organizers given no explanation?
Climate change is a big enough challenge to face without diplomatic problems of this kind.Author : Stanley Crossick