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China, U.S. renew fight against illegal wildlife trade


BEIJING, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Authorities from China and the United States on Wednesday reaffirmed efforts to fight the illegal wildlife trade together.

Efforts by China and the U.S. to save wildlife and combat illegal trading in endangered species have been more effective since a consultation mechanism came online last year, according to Zhao Shucong, head of China's State Forestry Bureau.

Zhao stressed the two sides should remain tough in the crackdown on wildlife crimes and support cooperation.

U.S. Under Secretary of State Catherine Novelli noted that the two countries should strengthen cooperation in law enforcement and raise public awareness of wildlife protection, especially among young people.

China and U.S. have reached agreement on tougher control of ivory and to treat organized wildlife crime as a felony. They also acknowledged operation Cobra, a strike against international wildlife crime organized by China, the U.S. and a number of other countries.

Also on Wednesday, Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, State Councilor Yang Jiechi and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attended a separate event on the illegal wildlife trade.

Liu noted that China has always attached great importance to wildlife protection and it has partnered more than 20 countries in tackling wildlife crimes.

Former NBA star Yao Ming, an ivory trade activist, was present at the event, where Liu and Kerry praised him for delivering the message of wildlife protection to the younger generation.