Beijing said it has deep concerns over the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which came into force on New year’s Day and demands all airlines pay a green duty to offset carbon emissions.
“China opposes the European Union’s unilateral legislation. China has expressed to the EU our deep concern and opposition many times on a bilateral level,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.
Mr Hong urged Brussels to hold urgent talks with Beijing over the controversial carbon allowance scheme, which has also met strong opposition from other countries.
China is likely to be able to pull unusually heavy punches in the dispute as its air carriers ferry hundreds of thousand of passenger from Asia into Europe’s troubled markets, including the tourist sector.