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Beijing denounces airline carbon tax, asks for talks

BEIJING/HONG KONG -- China reiterated its opposition on Thursday to a European Union plan to limit airline carbon dioxide emissions and called for talks to resolve the issue a day after its major airlines refused to pay any carbon costs under the new law.

“China opposes the European Union's unilateral legislation. China has expressed to the EU our deep concern and opposition many times on a bilateral level,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

“We hope the EU can take careful precautions with a cautious and practical attitude, and regarding those aspects involving China, appropriately discuss and handle this matter,” Hong told reporters during a regular briefing. The EU's carbon trading scheme was launched in 2005 as one of the pillars of Europe's efforts to combat climate change.

Following a December ruling from Europe's highest court that inclusion of airlines in the ETS was valid, China's official Xinhua news agency warned of a trade war.

Spokesman Hong said other countries had taken an equally negative view.

The United States has also raised the prospect of retaliation, while a draft law in the U.S. Congress proposes to make it illegal to comply with the EU law.

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