China calls for BASIC meet as climate talks resume

Ananth Krishnan

Only two weeks have passed after the Copenhagen climate summit ended with a compromise agreement, but officials are already laying the groundwork for the next round of negotiations.

A top Chinese official has called for a meeting of China, India, Brazil and South Africa — the BASIC group — this month to once again coordinate their positions as talks between the developing countries and the industrialised world continue in 2010.

Xie Zhenhua, vice-chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission and one of the country’s top climate negotiators, has sought a ministerial-level consultation with India early this year to coordinate the two countries’ “next-step negotiating strategies” and their positions on the Copenhagen accord.

Officials said the meeting would likely take place in the third week of January, once Brazil and South Africa confirmed their participation.

Indian and Chinese officials fear continuing discord between the developing countries and the West as the world heads to Mexico later this year to build on the compromise accord agreed upon after last month’s summit.

In a communication with Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh last week, Mr. Xie thanked India for its negotiating efforts to defend the interests of the developing nations at the Copenhagen talks. He warned of the challenges the developing nations will face on the road to Mexico, and stressed that ensuring the coordination and unity of the negotiating positions among the BASIC group would be crucial for the countries to defend their national interests going forward.

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