United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Beijing’s Capital International Airport on Thursday evening, 23 July. The main focus of his visit was to engage China as a global leader in combating climate change.
On Friday morning, he participated in the launch of the “Green Lights” programme, which promotes energy-saving lighting that could cut China’s energy consumption by 8 per cent. He said that China’s approach to climate change can demonstrate to the world that the country is ready to take up a global leadership role in the twenty-first century. By investing in green economy and green growth, he asserted, China has an opportunity to leapfrog over decades of traditional development based on high polluting fuels. (See Press Release SG/SM/12380)
“Without China, there can be no success this year on a new global climate framework,” the Secretary-General added, referring to the United Nations climate summit taking place this December in Copenhagen.
He then met with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. During that extensive meeting, the Secretary-General discussed climate change, United Nations and Security Council reform, the Millennium Development Goals and China’s achievement in lifting 300 million people out of poverty. They also spoke about the financial crisis, disarmament, non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, peacebuilding and peacekeeping questions. Some regional issues were also discussed, including Myanmar, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as well as Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia. He later attended a luncheon hosted by the Minister.
The Secretary-General also spoke to the alumni of the United Nations-China Advanced Leadership Programme, an initiative supported by the United Nations. He told them that China is already establishing itself in the greater use of renewable energy, with its renewable energy investments second only to Germany’s. He said that China is well positioned to be a leader in what is shaping up as one of the main global marketplaces of the future. (See Press Release SG/SM/12381)
In a bilateral meeting with President Hu Jintao, the Secretary-General discussed the upcoming Copenhagen summit in December, as well as the September summit on climate change in New York. With Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, he discussed the mitigation efforts to be undertaken by developing countries and the role of China in helping African countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
On Saturday, the Secretary-General flew to Xi’an, where he met with Yuan Chunqing, Governor of Shaan’xi Province. They discussed “green industries” and the efforts at the local level to find solutions to climate change challenges. The Secretary-General also visited the Terra Cotta Museum, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Cultural Heritage site, where thousands of life-sized pottery warriors and horses had been buried for more than two centuries in honour of Emperor Qinshihuang. The Secretary-General also visited the research facilities on solar energy at Applied Materials Co. Ltd, and one of the four sewage treatment plants for the city of Xi’an, before returning to Beijing for the night.
On Sunday, the delegation departed to Mongolia for an official visit.