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European and Canadian officials have warned Trump that the USA risks ceding global leadership on combating climate change to China, if it withdraws from the Paris accord.

China will "steadfastly" implement the Paris climate pact, Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday, urging others to do likewise as US President Donald Trump was due to announce whether he will keep Washington in the deal. Bloomberg says the federal government doesn't determine how the United States as a whole acts on climate change.

Merkel reportedly gave Li her backing for a free-trade deal between the European Union and China, but pointed out that an investment deal would be a precondition to any future trade talks.

The European Union and China plan to issue a joint statement - the first time this has happened - pledging to fully implementation of the Paris Agreement.

At a regularly scheduled news conference Thursday, Hua said: "No matter whether other countries' positions may change, we will continue to uphold" a model of sustainable development.

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And Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change, said nations, states and cities around the world remained committed to fighting climate change.

Merkel said she wanted European Union talks with China on an investment deal to make quick progress and that this would be a precondition to any free trade deal negotiations.

On Tuesday, Modi said in Berlin that it would be a "crime" to spoil the environment for future generations as the world awaits a decision on US climate policy.

Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reacted forcefully to the president's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, promising to reduce the city's and state's carbon footprints even without Washington's prodding.

France said it would work with USA states and cities - some of which, notably California, have broken with Trump's decision - to keep up the fight against climate change.

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"The Paris Agreement will endure", he added.

China has surpassed the U.S. to become the world's top emitter of carbon dioxide in recent years.

In addition to expanding its global economic reach in the wake of the United States climate pivot, Chinadialogue.net's Isabel Hilton said China will now also be looking to expand its diplomatic influence.

A spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, Hua Chunying, said China was ready to take a leading role in the fight against climate change.

Under Merkel, a passionate fan of the United States as a teenager growing up in communist East Germany, Europe's richest country has been steadfast in its Atlanticism, even during the presidency of George W Bush, which was marked by unilateral U.S. actions.

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A White House official said earlier in the day that Trump was planning to pull out of the Paris deal, although a final decision hadn't been made. Since then she has hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Li.

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