TOKYO, May 22 (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett urged Japan today to use its advanced technology to help China reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, despite Japanese concerns about increasing competition with its giant neighbour.
Beckett was speaking to business leaders at a climate change symposium in Tokyo, where she is on a visit for talks with Foreign Minister Taro Aso following a stay in China.
''Japanese low-carbon technology is second to none. Now is the time for Japan to capitalise on that,'' she said. ''I know Japanese business has particular concerns about economic competition with China. But we all have more to lose if China does not make the transition to a low carbon economy.'' China could overtake the United States to become the top emitter of global warming gases as early as this year, but Beijing has rejected caps on its emissions growth for the coming decades and called for more technology transfer.
Beckett said her visit to China, where she met Premier Wen Jiabao and other senior officials, convinced her Beijing was more serious about tackling climate change than many believe.
''Many outside China seem to misunderstand where China is on this issue,'' she said. ''China's leadership is worried about the implications of climate change on their economy and their social stability.'' China is also keen to bolster its energy security, she said.
''That is why China has set itself such challenging targets on energy efficiency. It is not rhetoric, it is a radical restructuring of the economy.'' Beckett is set to discuss with Aso ways of extending the Kyoto protocol on climate change, which expires in 2012, and said Japan's role as host of next year's Group of Eight summit of wealthy nations would be vital.
An international agreement must be reached by 2009 in order to avoid a damaging gap in regulation, a British official said last week.
The United States refused to ratify the Kyoto agreement, which did not set binding emissions targets for China and India.
Germany, the host of this year's G8, set to be held next month, wants member countries to agree to halve carbon emissions by 2050 and promote carbon trading.
REUTERS AE VV1346