For second time in a week, China berates Trump on climate pact threat

BEIJING (Reuters) - The U.S. would be the main victim if Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump were elected and then backed out of a global climate accord, a Chinese official said on Friday, as the step would hurt its global standing and diplomatic ties.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reacts during a campaign event in Selma, North Carolina, U.S. November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

It was the second rare comment on a foreign election by a Chinese official in a week, condemning Trump’s threat to spurn the Paris Agreement, made by nearly 200 governments, which takes effect on Friday.

“If Trump were to insist on doing things his own way, then he would pay a heavy price both politically and diplomatically,” said Zou Ji, deputy director of the National Centre for Climate Change Strategy, which is a part of China’s state planner.

“The U.S. would suffer the greatest harm and of course, the rest of the world would also be implicated,” he told reporters.

On Tuesday, China’s top climate change negotiator had rejected Trump’s plan to back out, saying a wise political leader should make policy in line with global trends.

Chinese officials are often hesitant to weigh in on foreign elections, although they will defend Chinese policies when attacked in candidates’ policy platforms.

Regardless of the outcome of next week’s U.S. presidential election, China will continue to be a “guardian, advocate and strong implementer of the Paris Accord,” Zou said.

“We are a responsible country and we will do our utmost to ensure the Paris Accord is upheld and implemented.”

Accord signatories had taken into consideration the U.S. political system when negotiating and it would be very difficult for Trump, if elected, to back out, he added.

Zou said he pinned his hopes for a wise decision on the people, and companies, of the United States.

“The nature of the U.S. presidential election campaign is candidates can say whatever they want, to make voters happy and win votes.”

Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong; Editing by Clarence Fernandez