The European Union's foreign policy chief said Tuesday she's confident the EU and China can agree to a common approach on climate change ahead of crucial carbon reduction talks in Paris this year.

Federica Mogherini praised China's targets for gradually reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and said the sides should be able to agree on other goals at an upcoming bilateral summit.

"On climate change, let me say that the European Union appreciates very much the role that China has been playing and is playing," Mogherini told reporters in Beijing.

A unified EU-China approach will help make the Paris talks a success, something that is a "common joint responsibility," she said.

A leading U.S. envoy for climate change expressed similar sentiments on a visit to Beijing in March. That appears to be raising hopes for a global plan to cut greenhouse emissions following the last U.N. climate summit in 2009 which ended without a significant agreement.

China is the world's biggest emitter and has pledged to level off carbon emissions by around 2030. That commitment has garnered widespread affirmation, although some experts say China's emissions need to peak much earlier to stave off major climate consequences.

Mogherini addressed reporters during a break in talks with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, the government's senior foreign policy adviser. She said discussions also touched on major global issues and concerns over human rights and Beijing's restrictions on civil society.

Mogherini said the sides agreed on the need for a negotiated settlement to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia-backed separatists, and praised China's role in talks on a framework agreement over Iran's nuclear program.

Mogherini, a former Italian foreign minister, is making her first visit to Asia since taking over as the EU's high representative for foreign and security policy in November. She also visited South Korea and met with President Park Geun-hye.