China announced a public commitment to accept binding emissions targets after 2020 if certain conditions are met, throwing the annual UN climate change talks into disarray, the Financial Times reported. Cynics argue that the conditions put forth by Xie Zhenhua, head of China’s delegation to the talks in Durban, South Africa, merely formalize the conditions that China had long discussed publicly, including the extension of Kyoto protocol and the provision of financing by rich countries for poor ones. But others believe the change in tone may indicate a new negotiating posture and willingness to seriously engage partners. “There are real signs from some of the things the Chinese are saying publically that there may be a flexibility in their position,” said Chris Huhne, the UK climate secretary. If China is willing to negotiate binding agreements – particularly with the EU – it could isolate the US, which has long insisted that any comprehensive deal to cut emissions must include binding pledges from Beijing.