By Joseph Watts
In a victory for Prince William the Chinese government will send a minister to London next month to discuss the illegal trade in ivory and rhaino horn.
The Duke of Cambridge has been urging China to do more to help the international battle against poaching.
It has seen a sustained behind-the-scenes effort, led by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, aimed at persuading the Chinese to come to a conference on the illegal wildlife trade at the start of February. Governments from across Asia and Africa are expected to attend.
China is a huge market for ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts and ministers believe it has a key role in tackling poaching and trafficking.
A government source said: “There has been two trips to China to get them on board and we have been assiduously trying to persuade them to come.”
William is expected to make a speech at the event, which will be attended by David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and US secretary of state John Kerry.
In a video message released in Shanghai last year, the Prince said: “We must stop the demand for illegally traded wildlife products within our lifetimes or these amazing animals will be for ever wiped from the planet. As a father, I want our children to know that rhinos are not just a picture in a book.”
At the end of last year, ministers announced a £10 million package to support efforts to tackle the illegal trade in wildlife products, including rhino horn and elephant ivory.
The multi-billion-pound industry, which is linked to international crime gangs, promotes corruption, damages tourism opportunities and undermines economic growth in the world’s poorest countries.