China cheers ethnic Chinese pick for US energy sec

BEIJING — China's media are cheering President-elect Barack Obama's pick of Chinese-American Steven Chu for the post of U.S. energy secretary, saying it bodes well for future cooperation between the two countries.

Photographs of Chu, who was born in St. Louis to Chinese parents, were printed on the front pages of major newspapers Friday, illustrating the pride China takes in the achievements of the vast Chinese diaspora.

The state-owned China Daily cited Chinese academics as saying Chu's ethnic background would ease cooperation between China and the U.S.

"Chu's presence will make the cooperation smoother," it cited Tsinghua University scholar Zhou Shijian as saying.

Chu, currently director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, has been a frequent visitor to China, which his parents left in 1943. They later opted to stay in the U.S. due to the political turmoil in their homeland that resulted in the 1949 seizure of power by the Communist Party, which continues to run China.

The Nobel Prize-winning physicist has been a vocal advocate of more research into alternative energy, arguing that a shift away from fossil fuels is essential to combat global warming.

China has pledged to work with other countries on a new climate-change treaty, but insists that developed nations bear the main responsibility for cutting emissions.

Major indicators show that China has surpassed the United States to become the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming. Most of China's greenhouse gases come from coal combustion, but the country is reluctant to pledge cuts in emissions because its growing economy is largely dependent on coal for its energy needs.


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