China slams US environmental record after critical State Dept report

China slams US environmental record after critical State Dept report

15:47 - China's foreign ministry knocked the U.S. on Monday in response to a statements from the State Department criticizing Beijing's record on environmental policy.

The Associated Press reported that a statement from Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China's foreign ministry, slammed the Trump administration's move to withdraw from the Paris climate accords, signed under the Obama administration and abandoned informally by the U.S. in a 2017 speech by President Trump.

By exiting the multinational agreement, the U.S. had become the “biggest destroyer of international environmental cooperation" on the planet, according to Wang.

He also sharply criticized the U.S. Navy's efforts to assert freedom of movement through international trading pathways in the South China Sea, which Wang called “the biggest threat to the peace and stability of the South China Sea," according to the AP.

The comments come following a statement from Morgan Ortagus, a State Department spokeswoman, who accused Beijing of pursuing "a reckless and provocative militarization” of islands in the region, as well as a separate statement from the agency trashing China's environmental record.

"While the Chinese people have suffered the worst environmental impacts of its actions, Beijing also threatens the global economy and global health by unsustainably exploiting natural resources and exporting its willful disregard for the environment," read a document issued last week by the State Department.

"Beijing is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases; the largest source of marine debris; the worst perpetrators of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; and the world’s largest consumer of trafficked wildlife and timber products," it continued.

The back-and-forth comes amid a period of deteriorating relations between the U.S. and China, with efforts to reach a bilateral trade agreement having given way to accusatory language as the Trump administration has blamed China publicly for the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak and criticized China's stances on other issues.