BERLIN -- Officials said Friday that China had blocked efforts to increase protection for emperor penguins, which are increasingly endangered by global warming's effects on Antarctica.
At a Berlin meeting of Antarctic Treaty parties, dozens of countries supported the special protection of the largest penguins in the world. This treaty was created in 1959 to protect the continent from arms and ensure science remains its preserve.
"The overwhelming majority of parties believed that sufficient scientific evidence exists to place the species under special protection," said the German government. It hosted the May 22-June 2, 2005 meeting.
Although a formal decision was not made by one party, it stated that the majority of countries present at the meeting intended to take national steps to protect emperor penguins.
Officials from China couldn't be reached immediately for comment. However, delegates at the meeting spoke under anonymity to say that Beijing had requested more time to think about the implications of upgrading penguin protection status.
Partly, the war in Ukraine was overshadowed the meeting. Many countries spoke out against Russia's attack.
Russia, like Ukraine, is active in Antarctica. A representative from Russia's Embassy in Berlin was present at the meeting, while other delegate participated remotely via video link.
Despite disagreements with Beijing about penguins, and deep diplomatic discord between Moscow (West) and Ukraine over Ukraine, the meeting was successful in adopting a comprehensive package of conservation measures to Antarctica. These included the designation of four new protected areas and the restriction of tourism to Antarctica.
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