EU, China summit to back Paris deal regardless of Trump: EU official

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The European Union and China will give their unconditional backing to the Paris climate accord at a bilateral summit in Brussels on Friday, whether or not the US leaves the pact, an EU official said Wednesday.

“We will issue a joint statement on climate change that will stress that China and the EU... will implement the agreement,” the senior EU official told reporters on Wednesday, on condition of anonymity.

“The Paris Agreement will continue with full force of implementation even if the US pulls out,” he added.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives in Brussels late Thursday for talks with EU president Donald Tusk and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, with climate change at the top of the agenda.

The Brussels talks follow a tense international tour by US President Donald Trump in which he spurned pleas by his European counterparts to adhere to the 2015 Paris climate accord.

US media reported Wednesday that Trump had decided to pull the United States out of the Paris accord.

In a tweet, Trump said an announcement would come in the “next few days”, ratcheting up the tension over what could be one of the biggest decisions of his presidency.

A pullout by Washington would deal a devastating blow to global efforts to combat climate change less than 18 months after the historic 196-party pact was signed in Paris.

But European officials insisted that the deal would remain on track.

“I understand that if they decide to pull out it will be disappointing but I really don’t think this will change the course of mankind,” European Commission vice president for energy, Maros Sefcovic, said at a briefing.

“Despite this possible rollback of the US administration, Europe is ready for the leadership (on climate change) and we will definitely provide it,” he added.

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