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Thursday, July 2, 1998 Published at 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Clinton's clean-up message

President Clinton fans himself amid the beauty of Guilin

The BBC's Washington Correspondent Bridget Kendall, who is travelling with President Clinton on his visit to China, reports from Guilin:

It is a region of spectacular natural beauty in southern China.

Gently cooling himself with a coloured Chinese fan in Guilin's tropical heat, President Clinton sketched out a stark picture to his Chinese audience.

China's cities and rivers were among the most polluted on the planet, he said.

[ image: Guilin: an area of overpowering beauty]
Guilin: an area of overpowering beauty
Last year had been the world's hottest ever, and if present trends continued, 1998 would break all records.

The effects of pollution and global warming were too serious to ignore and the United States and China, the world's two major emitters of greenhouse gases, had an obligation to work together.

The backdrop for Mr Clinton's speech could not have been more spectacular - the towering limestone mountains that have made Guilin famous the world over.

[ image: President Clinton urged co-operation]
President Clinton urged co-operation
But his offers of help to China were modest - assistance to monitor air problems and to help look for funding for new joint projects.

Nor did he dwell on the fact that it is the United States that bears most responsibility for global warming for all the environmental problems in China.

Last year the United States and China fell out over attempts to reach agreement on the emission of greenhouse gases.

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