Prince William is reportedly hoping to ease strained relations between China and the West by taking his annual Earthshot prize awards to China.
The Prince of Wales will travel to China in a bid to transform the environmental policies of the world’s biggest polluter.
The heir’s decision comes despite his father King Charles’s troublesome relationship with Beijing.
The King, who will celebrate his 75th birthday on Tuesday, has never visited mainland China because of his views on the country’s human rights record and its treatment of Tibet.
Sources have told The Sunday Times that William, however, is of the belief that you ‘can’t exclude a big chunk of the planet when thinking about fighting for its future’.
Prince William is planning to take his annual Earthshot prize awards to China in a bid to transform the environmental policies of the world’s biggest polluter. Pictured: William went on an official state visit to China in 2015, where he met President Xi Jinping
The King, who will celebrate his 75th birthday on Tuesday, has never visited mainland China because of the country’s human rights record and its treatment of Tibet
Pictured: William rehearses his speech onstage ahead of the 2023 Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony in Singapore on November 6
William was this week in Singapore for his third annual Earthshot Prize awards ceremony, which recognises solutions to ‘repair’ the planet.
On Tuesday, at an awards ceremony co-hosted by actress Hannah Waddingham and actor and producer Sterling K Brown, five winners handed £1million each to support efforts to scale their innovative climate and environmental solutions.
In a speech at the glitzy awards ceremony in Singapore, Prince William said: ‘The last year has been one of great change and even greater challenge.
‘A year in which the effects of the climate crisis have become too visible to be ignored.
‘And a year that has left so many feeling defeated, their hope dwindling.
‘However, as we have seen tonight, hope does remain.’
It was during his three-day visit to Singapore that William spoke with the country’s prime minister and president about his plans for China.
William travelled without Catherine, the Princess of Wales, who stayed in the UK to help Prince George, 10, through his ‘first set of major exams’.
The next two Earthshot Prize awards will be in Africa and South America. China and India are then expected to be next.
Kensington Palace has said that Prince William ‘wants to make Earthshot truly global’.
William was this week in Singapore for the third annual Earthshot Prize awards ceremony (pictured), which recognises solutions to ‘repair’ the planet
The UK and China’s relationship has suffered greatly in recent years for a number of reasons.
The People’s Republic have alienated the West over their human rights abuses of the Uighur Muslim minority, while there have been threats of espionage and cyberattacks.
The hostile approach to the sovereignty of Taiwan, which China claims as its own, has also stirred up tension.
King Charles’s problems with China have been well-documented, no more so then when he described the country’s communist leaders as ‘appalling old waxworks’.
The comments about his 1997 visit to Hong Kong, which were revealed in his diary entries from 2005, caused a diplomatic storm.
The King has also been seen to be close with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who describes them as ‘the best of friends’.
Relations were strained further between Charles and China when he was pictured laughing and holding hands with the Dalai Lama in 2012.
A royal source told The Sunday Times: ‘Prince William believes that when it comes to the climate and the environment, Asia is critical.
‘He’s of the view you can’t exclude a big chunk of the planet when thinking about fighting for its future.
Relations were strained further between Charles and China when he was pictured laughing and holding hands with the Dalai Lama in 2012
William last visited China in 2015 when he met President Xi and condemned the illegal wildlife trade as a ‘vicious form of criminality’
‘To fast-forward the change and impact he wants, he knows he has to engage with China and India — two of the world’s biggest economies and biggest emitters of carbon dioxide.’
It comes after Rishi Sunak warned at the G7 summit in May that China posed ‘the biggest challenge of our age to global security and prosperity’.
Mr Sunak’s deputy PM Oliver Dowden followed suit and said in July that China was the ‘largest state-based-threat’ to Britain’s economic security.
William last visited China in 2015 when he met President Xi and condemned the illegal wildlife trade as a ‘vicious form of criminality’. Two years later China banned the trade.
President Xi also visited the UK in 2015 and he and his wife were hosted by King Charles at Clarence House.
Although Charles made the effort to host President Xi, he did not attend the state banquet at Buckingham Palace, which William and Kate did.
China is by far the world’s biggest polluter and accounted for 29 per cent of global emissions last year. This compares to 11 per cent for the US and 0.8 per cent for the UK.
President Xi has promised to peak emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2060, although China approved 52 gigawatts of new coal power in the first six months of this year.
Chinese politicians must be seen to take climate action because air pollution causes about two millions deaths each year in China.
China has invested billions in renewable energy such as hydroelectric, wind and solar, while it also produces 57 per cent of the world’s electric vehicles.