BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007, 03:40 GMT
Australia to be 'climate bridge'
Kevin Rudd on 29 November 2007
Mr Rudd has pledged tough action on the environment
Australia's new PM has told China he will act as a bridge between Beijing and the developed world in negotiations on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Kevin Rudd made the offer in a phone conversation with Premier Wen Jiabao.

China is under intense pressure from the West to agree to binding targets on carbon emissions at talks in Bali.

Mr Rudd signalled a shift in Canberra's environment policy by signing documents to ratify the Kyoto Protocol hours after taking office.

Diplomatic focus

Mr Rudd has said he wants to put Australia at the forefront of the worldwide fight against global warming.

Earlier this week he started the process by which Australia will ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change - something which his predecessor, John Howard, repeatedly refused to do.

The BBC's Nick Bryant in Sydney says it appears that the 20-minute phone call between the two leaders - conducted entirely in Mandarin - was initiated by China.

But he added that it was also a telling indication of where Australia's new diplomatic priorities might lie.

Following his election, the former diplomat spoke by phone to the leaders of Australia's traditional allies - George W Bush in Washington and Gordon Brown in London.

But the Chinese premier is the first foreign leader Mr Rudd has conducted discussions with since being sworn in as prime minister.

Mr Wen seems keen to take up Mr Rudd's offer and enlist him as an intermediary, our correspondent says.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Kevin Rudd speaking to his counterpart in Mandarin



SEE ALSO
Rudd takes Australia inside Kyoto
03 Dec 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Key climate summit opens in Bali
03 Dec 07 |  Science/Nature
Rudd sets new Australian agenda
25 Nov 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Kevin Rudd
24 Nov 07 |  Asia-Pacific

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific