China’s Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei on Saturday said the chief U.S. climate negotiator either lacked common sense or is “extremely irresponsible” for saying no U.S. climate financing should be going to China.

In unusually blunt language, Mr. He said he was “shocked” by U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern’s comments earlier this week that China should not expect any American climate aid money and that the U.S. was not in any debt to the world for its historical carbon emissions.

“I don’t want to say the gentleman is ignorant,” he told reporters at the U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen. “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.”

The world’s two biggest greenhouse polluters have been exchanging barbs this week about the sincerity of their pledges to fight climate change.

In China’s view, the U.S. and other rich countries have a heavy historical responsibility to cut emissions and any climate deal in Copenhagen should take into account a country’s level of development.

China is grouped with the developing nations in the climate talks. But Mr. Stern said that when it came to financing to help poor countries deal with climate change, a key element in the Copenhagen talks, the U.S. does not consider China one of the neediest countries.

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