Wednesday, February 24, 2010

H.E. Ambassador John Momis’ Talk about China

By Albert Kaupa Tobby in Beijing


TALK about “China’s rise” has dominated discussions among, academics, politicians, businessmen and individuals. On December 09, 2009 US media tracker, “the Global Language Monitor List” listed “the rise of China” as the most read news story of the decade.

The rise of China as an economic superpower has attracted the widest coverage since 2000, surpassing the Iraq war and 9/11 terrorist attack on US. The ranking was based upon the number of citation based upon the Internet and blogspots, including social media, as well as the top 50 000 print and electronic media sites.

While some Chinese experts say it is an attempt by the western media to tout China for their own good and trumpeting the so-called “China threat”, for Papua New Guineans, it is equally important to know and understand the Chinese discourse so that we can engage with them appropriately and constructively.

Therefore, the then PNG Ambassador to the China, H.E. Ambassador John L. Momis GCL, highlighted some very significant facts about China and how PNG can learn and benefit from having a good relation with China.

This commentary will discuss our Ambassador’s thoughts on this much talked topic of the decade (2000 – 2009). Ambassador Momis discuss four important issues regarding the rise of China which include; (i) China’s past and present, (ii), China’s development miracle (iii) peaceful rise of China (iv) counter-arguments on common anti-Chinese sentiments.

Ambassador Momis finally concluded by sharing his views on the anti-Asians sentiments that has spread out throughout Papua New Guinea in May 2009.

Ambassador Momis’ views on China is drawn from his vast experience as politician for more than 33 years and as a diplomat for the past three years representing the Government of Papua New Guinea to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Beijing.

H.E. John Momis’ insights about China developed long before his appointment to represent the Government of PNG as Ambassador to the PRC. In 1985 when he was the Deputy Prime Minister he hosted the then visiting President of the People’s Republic of China Mr. Hu Yaobang.

This special commentary is divided into two parts. The first part discusses a brief background on the bilateral relationship between China and Papua New Guinea and Ambassador Momis’s views on China’s past struggles and their leadership determination to transform their society into the third largest economy in the World.

The second part which will be published next week Sunday will continue on Ambassador’s views on China regarding China’s development miracle, peaceful rise of China and counter-arguments on popular anti-Chinese sentiments.

Before discussing Ambassador Momis’ views on China, it is imperative that we get brief background information on the SINO-PNG relations.

Background on Sino-PNG Relations

China and Papua New Guinea established diplomatic relations on October 12th 1976 right after PNG got its independence from Australia in 1975, and since then the relations has been growing stronger and deeper each year.

Papua New Guinea set up its Embassy in Beijing in April 1988 and accredited a resident ambassador. His Excellency Noel Levi was the first PNG Ambassador to China (1988 – 1990), however prior to that, His Excellency the late Sir Joseph Nombri Ambassador to Tokyo, Japan was accredited to both China and South Korea.

Trade relations between China and PNG started in the 1960s, and have developed smoothly since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. China and PNG have enjoyed closer and stronger relations, and the economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries has gained momentum over the past ten years.

Today PNG is the biggest and the most important trading partner of China among the South Pacific island nations. During his visit to PNG in July 1996, Qian Jichen, then Chinese Vice Primer who is currently the Foreign Affairs Minister signed a trade agreement between the two Governments with his PNG counterpart, thus paving the way for further development of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.

Other agreements signed between the two countries included Memorandum of Understanding on Promotion for Economic and Trade Cooperation, Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investment, Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income, and Agreement on Fisheries Cooperation.

In recent years, trade between China and PNG has grown rapidly. It constitutes two-thirds of China's trade with the South Pacific island nations.

PNG's commodities exported to China mainly comprise timber and crude oil, while its main imports from China ranges from textiles, garments, light industrial products (such as footwear, suitcases, bags and toys), to machinery and electronic products. China has a big trade deficit with PNG for many years, and PNG is the only country in the South Pacific with a big trade surplus with China.

Since 1976, China has provided economic and technical assistance to PNG, through a number of projects including four complete projects, namely Sir John Guise Sports Stadium, Henganofi Rural Housing Project, Kandep Agricultural Research Center Project, Markham National High School Project, and four technical cooperation projects such as rattan weaving. So far, PNG has received 11 batches of goods and materials donated by the Chinese side.

The number of PNG students studying in China on Chinese Government Scholarship has increased over the past ten years. Today there are about 60 Papua New Guinean students studying in various universities throughout China.

As part of the Chinese Government continuous commitment towards developing human resources and enhancing international cooperation on development, China has offered many short term courses to the Public Servants in PNG over the past decades.

These training vary from Military training, to Forestry and Fisheries Management, etc. PNG is the largest recipient country of Chinese aid among the South Pacific island nations.

H.E. Ambassador John L. Momis GCL, talk about China

French leader Napoleon Bonaparte had an aphorism: "Let China sleep; when she wakes she will shake the world," said Napoleon (1769-1821). Nearly 180 years after his death, this famous aphorism (or cliché, for Sinologists/China experts) by the French military genius has fulfilled. Today we hear and see people talking about the rise of China in almost all aspect of our society.

Despite of having one of the oldest civilizations in the world, China has in the past been through many dynasties (e.g. Song, Qing, Ming dynasties including Mao and the CPC) that consistently encountered internal civil wars, warlordisms, barbarisms and terrorisms from the northern plains and even suffered constant humiliation and domination by foreign invaders.

At one-point in history, not so long ago, China was regarded as one of the poorest country in the world. However Chinese leaders never yield to all these struggles. Instead they persevered with determination to change and improve the lifestyle of their people.

After the fall of the Nationalist Kuomingtan (KMT) Government and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, under the leadership of Comrade Mao Zedong, industrialization was the key to economic growth in China, thus vast resources was thrown at heavy industry (e.g. steel production), agriculture was exploited and the service sector remained suppressed and centrally controlled. However these strategies proved futile and brought China’s economy to halt.

Then in 1978 the Communist party initiated very strategic reform under the leadership of its new leader, Deng Xiaoping. Deng Xiaoping initiated market reform to state ownership and open up the Chinese economy to international trade and investment.

The outcome of the “reform and opening up” policy under Deng Xiaoping was remarkably successful, as China rose from being economically impoverished and back-warded to being the third largest economy in the world and as scholars’ predicted will soon overtake Japan to become the second largest economy in the world to the United States.

Today China is regarded as the manufacturing hub of the world. With enormous trade surplus and inflows of foreign investment, China foreign exchange reserve has surged to almost two trillion US Dollars which made China the largest owners of US Treasury bills which effectively helped US financed its current account deficit.

Last year (2009) Beijing spent US$50 billion on what will soon become the world’s biggest high-speed train system. The railroad is expected to finish in 2020 with 16 000 miles of track whose main routes include Beijing to Shanghai and to Guangzhou.

The US$50 billion high-speed train system when completed will become the largest, fastest and most technologically sophisticated railway system in the world.

With the fallout of the global economic recession in late 2008, China is one of the very few major economies that kept growing, prompting the West to urge it to pull the world out of the worst economic crisis in seven decades.

Viewed as an important player in global politics, Beijing has committed itself to address major global issues such as the financial crisis, global warming, combating terrorism, stopping nuclear proliferation, and eradicating extreme poverty.

Beijing Farewell’s H.E. Ambassador John Momis

By Albert Kaupa Tobby in Beijing

WITHIN three years, H. E. Ambassador John Momis and his beloved wife, Madam Elizabeth Momis have touched the minds and hearts of those whom have crossed their paths in China. This is reflected in the various categories of people from different works of life who turned up for Ambassador Momis farewell dinner Sat Jan 9. It was a casual event hosted by the Ambassador and his wife to farewell Ambassadors’ close friends and colleagues. The dinner was hosted at the Ambassador’s Residence at the Taiyuan Diplomatic Compound in Beijing.

On January 9, 2010, members of the diplomatic community, friends, fellow Christian believers and students gathered at the Ambassador’s residence for H.E. Ambassador Momis’ farewell dinner. Those present were from all over the world; the Pacific islands countries, Malaysians, Australians, Europeans and Chinese. It was truly an international gathering and almost everyone present was moved by the whole event.

The members of the diplomatic community in Beijing present at the farewell dinner include; Fijian Embassy’s Counselor and his wife, Micronesian Ambassador and his wife, Tongan Ambassador, representative from the Malaysian Embassy and the staff members from the Papua New Guinean Embassy.

Long time friend and colleague Tony Vutas was also present at the dinner. Tony Vutas was a member of the House of Assembly in PNG before independence. He is also the co-founder of the Pangu Pati and a member of the PNG Constitutional Planning Committee which H. E. Ambassador Momis was the de facto chairman, who was responsible for compiling the PNG Constitution. Tony Vutas and his wife are currently residing in Beijing.

Paul Ginnivan, who is a university lecturer in Beijing and a professional editor was also present. Mr. Ginnivan who only met Ambassador Momis at the South Cathedral here in Beijing expressed deep gratitude for Ambassador Momis. Paul Ginnvan who have never met Ambassador Momis before, have become one of Ambassador’s close Christian friend here in Beijing.

The Trade attaché at the Malaysian Embassy here in Beijing also attended the meeting with his wife and their two daughters. They were joined by another Malaysian friend and business women here in Beijing.

Ambassador’s friend from the Chinese community who was present at the meeting is a Chinese Doctor Mr. Ma and his wife. Mr. Ma had visited PNG and Bougainville in early 2009. Through the influences of Ambassador Momis, Mr. Ma has developed a great passion for PNG. Another person was a prominent Chinese businessman Mr. Jason Fong. Mr. Fong has investment in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and has shown great appreciation for PNG.

The Wilkins family was also present at the meeting. Dian from Oro Province in Papua New Guinea who is married to Mr. Wilkins from England were present with their two sons Jordan and Heathen Wilkins.

Representing the Papua New Guinea students in China was Angelo Wak and Albert Tobby (writer). Both expressed deep gratitude to the Ambassador and his wife Elizabeth Momis for their tireless commitment towards helping the students in China.

The fellowship started with a Eucharist at 6:30 pm. Fr. Ezekias from India was the celebrant of the Eucharist. Fr. Ezekias was here in Beijing to study Chinese language, in the hope of doing pastoral work here in China. He met Ambassador John Momis and Madam Elizabeth Momis at the Nantang (South Cathedral) where they all attend church every Sunday. Within the short period of fellowship together, Fr. Ezekias becomes one of close friends of Ambassador Momis.

Reading from the Gospel of Luke, Fr. Ezekias reiterated the process of God becoming man and identifying with humanity through, birth, baptism and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Fr. Ezekias also stressed that the Christian community here in Beijing will be praying for H. E. Ambassador Momis. Fr. Ezekias said as Ambassador Momis was preparing for a much tougher challenge and greater responsibilities as the President of Autonomous Region of Bougainville, his fellow believers and Christian friends throughout the world, will be remembering him in their prayers for God’s grace and strength upon him. Fr. Ezekias with the Christians and everyone present prayed and wishes Ambassador Momis success in the coming Presidential Election in March this year.

The gathering started at about 6:30 pm and ended very late at about 2:20 am. after the Eucharist dinner was served. The fellowship was such a memorable one where everyone exchanged views about their impression of Ambassador John Momis and Madam Elizabeth Momis. The atmosphere in the meeting room was so compelling that attracted everyone and none of them wanted to leave. Even the small kids have such energy that they stayed up until 2 o clock in the morning.

From all those different categories’ of people present at the meeting, it really depicts that Ambassador John Momis has a very wide network and his influences have impacted people from all works of life. His outstanding leadership quality and personality has inspired people from all nationalities, religion, and races.

News about his departure has also flowed through the corridors of the Great Hall of the People at Tiananmen in Beijing. Several high profile Chinese Government officials have hosted urgent meetings with Ambassador Momis in the last two weeks to farewell him.

On December 30th 2009, Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Yang Jiechi, just before leaving Beijing for his African tour, had a farewell meeting with Ambassador Momis. Minister Yang Jiechi has expressed great satisfaction for the work done by Ambassador Momis in promoting the bilateral relations between China and PNG. Mr. Yang said that the SINO-PNG relations has grown stronger and deeper over the years and congratulated Ambassador Momis for his great contributions. Minister Yang extends a personal invitation to Ambassador Momis and his family to visit China again anytime in the future.

Vice Minister Yi Xiaozhun of the Ministry of Commerce, has also called an urgent meeting with Ambassador John Momis in that same week. Vice Minister Yi Xiaozhun expressed the same sentiments as the Foreign Affairs Minister. Both leaders gestures portrayed the Chinese Government confidence and trust in Ambassador Momis’ leadership.

Other senior Government Officials of the People’s Republic of China that met and farewell Ambassador Momis include Director General of North America and Oceania Affairs, Mr. Zheng Zeguang. Mr. Zeguangs’ Department is responsible for all China’s bilateral relations with countries in the North America and Oceania region. It is also responsible for translation and interpretation of important diplomatic functions, documents and instruments in relevant language. Mr. Zeguang wishes Ambassador John L. Momis all the success in his election campaign for the President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Director of Agriculture Department also met with Ambassador Momis to farewell him. All these took place within the past two weeks and such overwhelming gestures from senior Chinese Government officials is a significant indication of the Chinese Government confidences and trust in Ambassador Momis’ leadership. He has gained insurmountable respect from the business community, diplomatic community and government circles in Beijing.

Ambassador Momis has set an unprecedented benchmark in our bilateral relations with China, which is clearly shown by the recognition and appreciation the Chinese Government has given to him. His departure is also a great loss to the Pacific Community here in Beijing. He is widely respected among the Pacific Island Community here in Beijing, majority of whom are young and as such would turn to him from time to time for advice and directions. His departure will leave a vacuum in the Pacific Island diplomatic circles in Beijing.

Ambassador Momis and his wife Madam Elizabeth Momis left Beijing on Wednesday 13th January, 2010. Ambassador resigned from his diplomatic post as the Head of Mission of the Papua New Guinea Embassy in Beijing, China to contest the 2010 Autonomous Bougainville Election.

The common message that was repeated by many of his diplomatic colleagues, friends and Chinese government officials is that, “China will lose when Ambassador John Momis leaves Beijing but Bougainville will gain.” Such wide international support and recognition he has received over the past years will be of great asset to the people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.

As Tony Vutas recalled, Ambassador John Lawrence Momis, the de factor Chairman of the Constitutional Planning Committee of Papua New Guinea, who produced not just a great legal document but also a great moral document, a Constitution which is currently being implemented in many different ways today. His return to the political sphere will bring deep insights and directions as to how the country is to run. Specifically to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, who is at the threshold of constitutional formulation and decision-making, Ambassador Momis brings with him the complete package of governance the Bougainville people needed at the moment

Papua New Guinean’s in China, including the Pacific Island community in Beijing wishes Ambassador John Lawrence Momis all the success in the 2010 Autonomous Bougainville Presidential Election.

China led developing countries in Copenhagen climate meeting.

By Mathew Yakai

THIS is the second part of the series of articles about China’s engagement at the Copenhagen climate change conference Dec 2009 led by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

The Copenhagen conference finally produced major and positive outcomes after complicated and tortuous negotiations. China played a major role.

Premier Wen expressed full understanding of the pressure facing the host, Denmark. He attributed various divisions to four focal issues, namely, a basic text, financial support, the long-term target and MRV (measurable, reportable and verifiable).

He suggested that pragmatic efforts be made in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" to build on the two draft texts presented by the chairs of the two Ad hoc Working Groups, lock up the consensus already achieved and leave the divisive elements to future deliberations.

He said this might be the only viable way, and a resolution thus reached could represent an outcome of the conference.

Prime Minister Rasmussen of Denmark thanked Premier Wen for his constructive proposal. He said if all other leaders could work as vigorously as the Chinese Premier, the conference would achieve success.

Premier Wen then met UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Ban was also gravely concerned about the stalled process and regarded a conference without any gains as unacceptable.

Premier Wen pointed out that it was unrealistic for the nearly 200 countries to patch up their wide differences in less than two days. The Chinese people and people across the globe all looked forward to a successful conference.

The most important thing at the moment was to build consensus quickly. The conference could opt for a political document that reflected the consensus of all parties aimed at affirming the political will, recognizing the existing achievements, and sending a message of confidence and hope to the world.

Premier Wen stressed that the drafting process and consultations must be open and transparent. The opinions of all parties must be duly solicited and the concerns of the developing countries in particular must be taken seriously. He expressed the hope that the United Nations would play an important role in this process. Ban nodded, absorbed in thought.

By now, Premier Wen had explained to both the host and the United Nations the overall considerations and operational recommendations of the Chinese government concerning the outcome of the conference. What happened later proved that Premier Wen's suggestions were forward-looking and workable.

At 11:00 that day, Premier Wen headed to the hotel where Brazilian President Lula da Silva stayed. President Lula had proposed a working breakfast among the leaders of BASIC countries, but that was cancelled due to technical difficulties with the Indian and South African leaders.

When Premier Wen learned this, he asked for a bilateral meeting with President Lula. The two old friends shook hands, hugged each other and started a cordial conversation.

They confirmed the broad common understanding between the two countries on climate change, and pledged to stand together with other developing countries to uphold shared interests while stepping up consultation and coordination with all relevant parties in order to play a positive role.

At noon, Premier Wen rushed back to the Radisson Hotel for a group meeting with President Nasheed of the Maldives and Prime Minister Thomas of Grenada representing small island developing states, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia representing Africa, Prime Minister Hasina of Bangladesh representing the least developed countries (LDCs), and the Sudanese presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie representing the Group of 77.

As a developing country, China covered a historical journey similar to those of African countries, small island states and LDCs. Consequently, China and these countries felt close to each other and shared the same yearning for justice and fairness. The leaders sat in a circle and had a heart-to-heart talk.

Financial support was the top concern to these countries. A delegate from a major power had said earlier that money would not be given to China. In response to this remark, Premier Wen said that China had been calling on the developed countries to make good on their financial pledges, but China would never compete with other developing countries for even a single cent of financial support.

China would continue to provide assistance to LDCs both bilaterally and within the framework of the South-South cooperation, including material and capacity-building support for combating climate change.

Premier Wen had deep sympathies for small island states over their vulnerable ecosystems and fully understood their special requests for curbing global temperature rise.

He explained in great detail China's mitigation efforts and what China expected from the Copenhagen negotiations. As a demonstration of sincerity, Premier Wen expressed China's readiness to accommodate the concerns of the small island states on limiting global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius by 2050.

Premier Wen also pledged China's commitment to uphold the rights and interests of the whole developing world at the conference.

Premier Wen then invited the leaders to lunch, where they continued discussion. Their meeting, which lasted over two hours, was the longest Premier Wen had in Copenhagen.

The other leaders found Premier Wen's remarks fair and reasonable. They recognized the tremendous efforts China had made to tackle climate change and dismissed the accusations made by the developed countries as misplaced.

They held that China, like other developing countries, should not have its development space compromised in the course of addressing climate change. And they called on the developing countries to strengthen consultations and solidarity.

The UK, Germany and Japan, all developed countries, have mature technologies for energy conservation, environment protection and green economy. They want to play a leadership role in promoting international cooperation on climate change, but due to an inadequate understanding of the national conditions of developing countries, they have raised some unrealistic and unfair demands.

On the afternoon of Dec 17th 2009, Premier Wen had separate meetings with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and discussed with them about relevant issues in a patient and thoughtful way.

Premier Wen pointed out that at this critical juncture, all parties should stop finger pointing. Still less should they engage in bargaining, as this would only waste time.

All parties should observe the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities", bear in mind the broader interests, quickly build consensus and shelve disputes, and work together for a successful outcome.

Premier Wen stressed the fact that China's voluntary mitigation target had no strings attached and was not pegged to the emissions reduction target of any other country. It was not negotiable as well.

Premier Wen said China would honor its words with action and would spare no effort to meet or even exceed the target, as this was in the interest of the Chinese people and people around the world.

China would like to carry out consultations and cooperation on increasing the transparency of its voluntary mitigation actions and steer its efforts towards holding the global temperature rise within 2 degrees Celsius. This demonstrated China's utmost sincerity.

Premier Wen emphasized that the developing countries had the prime task of eradicating poverty and growing economy, but this should not be done along the old path of industrialization followed by developed countries and at the expense of resources and the environment.

Developed countries should appreciate and support this and honor their commitments on financial and technological assistance. Developing and developed countries should work closely together to bring about the best result possible out of the conference.

Despite differences over certain issues, all the talks were held in a frank and in-depth manner, because this was the only way to increase mutual understanding and expand common ground.

The meetings all went longer than originally planned. After seeing off Prime Minister Brown, Premier Wen apologized to the waiting German Chancellor Merkel, "Madam Chancellor, sorry to have kept you so long."

The chancellor replied with humor: When Prime Minister Brown bumped into her on his way out, he said exactly the same thing. People in the room burst into laughter.

As soon as the meetings came to a close, Premier Wen asked Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei to hold a press conference to give a detailed briefing on his meetings with various leaders and explain on what issues China had to stick to its position and on what other issues China would be ready to show flexibility.

More than 200 Chinese and foreign journalists attended the press conference and they swiftly reported to the world China's latest position and its communications with other parties. This was a vivid demonstration of China's commitment to openness and transparency.

Note: The column thanked Zhao Cheng and Tian Fan (Xinhua News Agency and Wei Dongze (People’s Daily) for their contribution. Part three of the series will be published next Sunday. For comments, contact the writer on or SMS 71489901

China contributed immensely to Copenhagen

By Mathew Yakai

IN our usual email forum, a Papua New Guinea Student at Jilin University in China, Bernard Singu Yegiora made a remarkable comment regarding climate change and China’s engagement. I would like to adopt below.

“On the issue of climate change, bear in mind that China is a developing country, their foreign policy is centered on economic development. The whole issue of climate change is a constraint to their bid in developing. The reason behind developed countries proposing 80% can be explained using the 'kick the ladder effect'.

While our ancestors were roaming the bush of New Guinea in their traditional attire, the west or now known as the developed countries began their process of industrialization, after the industrial revolution.

They have now reached the roof top and have kicked the ladder making it difficult for countries like China and PNG to climb the ladder, or simply develop by industrializing. As such, modern scholars have called this global apartheid, and that is why China is vetoing for a 50% reduction in global emissions.

The blame for the damages done to the earth should be pointed at developed countries and the advent of the industrial revolution, which has dramatically changed history.

China is acting in a realist fashion but the dilemma is who should we blame for this pending global catastrophe which started in the 18th century? It will be very difficult to come up with a global consensus.”

Nevertheless, China is playing a major role, leading the developing countries. The issue of climate is a global concern. As a leading developing country with 1.3 billion people to feed, China is taking the leadership role in addressing the climate issue.

In the series of articles, this column will publish Chinas’ role, lead by Premier Wen Jiabao at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

On 19 December 2009, the Copenhagen climate change conference finally produced major and positive outcomes after complicated and tortuous negotiations.

The Copenhagen Accord issued at the conference firmly upheld the basic framework and principles established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, further clarified the due obligations and actions of the developed and developing countries respectively according to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities", and reflected international consensus regarding the long-term goal for addressing climate change, financing, technology, transparency of actions and other issues.

From 16 to 18 December, in the nearly 60 hours Premier Wen Jiabao spent in Copenhagen, he held intensive talks and consultations with other leaders to drive the negotiation process forward. The traveling press corps with the Premier witnessed the roller-coaster, nail-biting negotiations at Copenhagen.

But more importantly, the press experienced the sincerity, confidence, resolve and effective efforts Premier Wen brought to Copenhagen, which fully demonstrated China's image as a responsible big country dedicated to development and cooperation.

In his important speech at the high-level segment of the conference, Premier Wen reiterated the consistent position of the Chinese government. He called on all sides to build consensus and strengthen cooperation to advance the historical process of combating climate change.

Confronted by the complicated situation in and outside the Bella Center, Premier Wen was undeterred. With the strongest political will and patience, he shuttled between participating leaders and engaged them in dialogue and consultations.

At the critical moment when the negotiations faced the risk of a breakdown, he personally talked to various parties and helped the conference reach the final accord with his painstaking and thoughtful efforts.

History will remember the important contribution of the Chinese government to the success of the Copenhagen conference.

"He who is cautious may seem timid in the beginning, but his mettle will shine through in the end." Always well prepared, Premier Wen Jiabao thought carefully on how to ensure a successful conference before leaving for Copenhagen.

The argument between developing and developed countries on global warming has grown ever more heated in recent years. As the largest developing nation, China has made enormous and effective efforts to conserve energy and control emissions.

On 26 November last year, the Chinese government announced the target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent from the 2005 level by 2020.

The announcement was widely applauded by the international community. It was also announced on that day that Premier Wen Jiabao would attend the Copenhagen conference.

After the opening of the conference on 7 December, Copenhagen became a stage of intense wrangling between national governments, interest groups, NGOs and research institutes.

But the unending arguments, talks and negotiations never seemed to have gotten very far and an enormous gulf remained between divergent positions. The clock was ticking, and a pervasive sense of pessimism and despair began to fill the conference center.

At 15:00 on the afternoon of 16 December, the plane carrying Premier Wen and the Chinese delegation took off from Beijing and started the journey to Copenhagen.

"It is a huge task to attend the conference on behalf of the Chinese government. I am deeply aware of the heavy responsibility upon me," Premier Wen said to the traveling press corps on board the plane.

"On my way to the airport, I thought of two ancient sayings. One is 'He who is cautious may seem timid in the beginning, but his mettle will shine through in the end', and the other is 'Thorough planning at the outset will serve one well in his ensuing endeavors'. In other words, if you think carefully as you embark on a mission, you will be able to act with courage and resolve."

In fact, the premier's journey to Copenhagen had started well before this day. In the run-up to the conference, he visited the China Meteorological Administration and had a number of telephone conversations with foreign leaders.

On 27-28 November, representatives of the BASIC countries, i.e. China, India, Brazil and South Africa, and Sudan as the chair of the Group of 77 held consultations in Beijing. Premier Wen met with the participating environment ministers or their representatives.

From 8 December onwards, as national delegations were engaged in tough negotiations in Copenhagen, Premier Wen talked by phone with the UN Secretary-General and the leaders of Britain, Germany, India, Brazil, South Africa, Denmark and Ethiopia. They had frank and in-depth conversations on some major issues concerning the conference.

On 11 December, Premier Wen made a visit to the China Meteorological Administration and convened a discussion with experts on climate change. During the meeting, he called for resolute and strong measures to meet the government's target for controlling greenhouse gas emissions.

Premier Wen had also followed closely developments at the Copenhagen conference after its opening. Soon after his plane took off from Beijing, he asked the press corps to come to the front cabin and shared his thoughts very frankly.

It was apparent that Premier Wen had already carefully thought about the complicated situation awaiting him. He said, "I am confident that with so many leaders converging on Copenhagen, the conference will be a fruitful one. But whatever may happen in Copenhagen, China will not change its action plan. Our voluntary mitigation target is non-negotiable and our determination to meet it will not waver," he told the press.

After this mid-air briefing, Premier Wen called a meeting of the accompanying ministers to analyze the position of various parties. Then, alone in his cabin, the premier looked out at the sea of clouds outside the plane, staring intensely, deep in thought.

It was not a light-hearted mission, he knew. So many things needed to be considered before the conference could be brought to a fruitful conclusion.

At 16:45 Beijing time, Premier Wen's plane touched down at Copenhagen airport. Snow was falling heavily and chill wind was howling: not all was quiet on this wintry evening in Copenhagen.

Everyone in the Chinese delegation was tired after a 10-hour flight that had crossed seven time zones and over 7,000 kilometers, but Premier Wen still decided to go straight to the Chinese embassy, where he would hear briefings on the latest developments and plan next steps. Over one hour had passed before he finally left the embassy and checked in at the Radisson Hotel.

"The most important thing is to build consensus quickly." - Confronted by a complicated situation, Premier Wen Jiabao worked with sincerity, resolve and confidence to mediate, communicate, coordinate, bridge differences and expand common ground.

At 6:00 on 17th, Premier Wen went to breakfast. He was briefed at the breakfast table. As the negotiations in Copenhagen involved 192 countries, the circumstances were changing every minute.

At 8:30, Premier Wen walked into the meeting room, brimming with energy and ready for a whole day of intense meetings. The first leader he met was Prime Minister Rasmussen of the host country Denmark.

At the outset, Premier Wen commended Denmark for its hard work in the run-up to the conference and pledged China's full support to the host in bringing about a successful outcome.

The Danish Prime Minister was somewhat relieved to hear these words. He talked about the deep rift among parties and the absence of a text that could serve as a basis for consultations. He was visibly worried about the negotiation process.

Note: The column thanked Zhao Cheng and Tian Fan (Xinhua News Agency and Wei Dongze (People’s Daily) for their contribution. Part two of the series will be published next Sunday. For comments, contact the writer on or SMS 71489901