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By Yoko Nishikawa
HUA HIN, Thailand (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama called on his Indian counterpart on Saturday to make an international commitment on climate change, saying it was vital for a U.N. deal due in Copenhagen in December.
Hatoyama, who took office last month after a landslide election victory, has pledged Japan -- the world's fifth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases -- will cut emissions 25 percent by 2020 and hopes emerging nations like China and India will also sign up to an ambitious global deal.
"India's commitment is indispensable for the success of Copenhagen and I hope it will make an international commitment based on their steps taken domestically," Hatoyama told Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, according to a Japanese government official.
The two leaders held a bilateral meeting on the sideline of a series of summit meetings among Asian leaders in the Thai seaside town of Hua Hin.
Disputes over 2020 emissions cuts by developed nations and the amounts of cash to help developing nations combat global warming are among the main sticking points in sluggish U.N. talks meant to end in Denmark on December 18 with a new treaty.
Developing nations led by China and India say the rich need to make cuts averaging at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 to avoid the worst of climate change.
Singh welcomed Hatoyama's climate change initiative and said India as a responsible member of the international community would contribute to the global efforts on climate change and seek a low-carbon society, the Japanese official told reporters.
But Singh stopped short of making a climate change commitment and noted that India's emission is only 4 percent of the total global emission, the Japanese official said.
POVERTY & DEVELOPMENT CONSIDERATIONS
India's foreign affairs ministry said Singh insisted that the solution must be based "on the principles of equity and the overriding imperative of economic development and poverty reduction."
A statement carried on the ministry's website reiterated India's intention to keep its per capita greenhouse gas emissions lower than the global average.
The Japanese official said Singh had also asked for Japan's assistance on a more efficient use of energy, renewable energy technology and nuclear power generation.
Hatoyama was cautious on the notion of supporting India's nuclear power generation technology, saying Japan as the only country that has suffered nuclear attacks would need to consider various factors before looking into providing assistance.
On nuclear disarmament, Singh told Hatoyama that India wanted to work with countries that share the same view on seeking a nuclear-free world, noting that his country has been exercising its moratorium on nuclear testing, the official said.
Hatoyama, in return, expressed strong hope that India will quickly sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would outlaw all nuclear tests, as a step to an ambitious goal of creating a world free of nuclear weapons.
(Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

Reuters