Chinese President Hu Jintao cut short a trip to Italy for the G8 summit and returned home Wednesday to deal with the crisis in China’s Xinjiang region, the foreign ministry said.
Hu’s sudden return came after fresh ethnic strife erupted Tuesday in Urumqi, capital of China’s northwest region, as thousands of Han Chinese armed with makeshift weapons marched through the city where 156 died in weekend riots.
Hu’s decision not to attend the summit and postpone a subsequent state visit to Portugal was “unprecedented,” according to Jean-Pierre Cabestan, professor of political science at Hong Kong Baptist University.
“I have never seen a Chinese president shorten a trip abroad before. They never tell you there are ever any signs of panic, (but) there is clear concern,” he said.
No headway on climate change plan
Meanwhile, the world’s major industrial nations and emerging powers failed to agree on Wednesday on significant cuts in heat-trapping gases by 2050, unraveling an effort to build a global consensus to fight climate change, according to people following the talks.
As President Obama arrived for three days of meetings with other international leaders, negotiators dropped a proposal that would have committed the world to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by midcentury and industrialised countries to slashing their emissions by 80 per cent.
The discussion of climate change was among the top priorities as world leaders gathered here for the annual summit meeting of the Group of 8 powers. The leaders were also grappling with the sagging global economy, development in Africa, turmoil in Iran, nuclear nonproliferation and other issues.
Obama has succeeded in persuading other Group of 8 leaders to contribute another $12 billion over the next three years for a food security initiative, aides said. The program, to be announced Friday, will provide emergency anti-hunger aid to poor countries and also help build sustainable, productive agriculture and food delivery systems.