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马振岗谈习近平重申中国支持欧洲的态度
China Daily
2012/02/20

  Vice-president offers help to tackle debt crisis as he visits Ireland

  SHANNON, Ireland - Vice-President Xi Jinping reiterated China's support for Europe as itaddresses the debt crisis when he arrived in Ireland on Saturday for a three-day visit.

  "China will continue to support, in its own way, efforts of the EU, the European Central Bankand the International Monetary Fund to address the European debt problem," Xi said in aninterview with the Irish Times at the start of his trip to Ireland.

  "We have offered sincere help to our European friends in line with our means, throughincreased mutual investment and business cooperation," he said.

  This month has seen China express, at the highest levels, support for Europe.

  President Hu Jintao told European Council President Herman van Rompuy and EuropeanCommission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Beijing on Wednesday that China would joininternational efforts to back Europe and the eurozone.

  During the China-EU summit on Tuesday, Premier Wen Jiabao pledged that China would play abigger part in resolving the European sovereign debt issue.

  Wen also said at a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this month thatChina would consider greater involvement, especially through the European StabilityMechanism and the European Financial Stability Facility.

  But Xi also hinted that Europe should play a major role in resolving the crisis. China believesthat the difficulties facing Europe are "temporary", he said.

  "The EU and the governments and people across Europe have the ability, the wisdom, and themeans, to solve the sovereign debt problem and achieve economic recovery and growth," hesaid in the interview.

  The EU is China's largest trading partner and biggest export market, while China is close tobecoming the EU's biggest trading partner. Trade reached $567 billion in 2011.

  Beijing has also been Ireland's biggest trading partner in Asia for five years with trade hitting$5.87 billion in 2011.

  In the same interview, Xi said that he believed his trip will enhance cooperation between Beijingand Dublin.

  This would focus on certain sectors, such as "biotechnology, agriculture and communicationtechnology", he told the Irish Times.

  The paper said Xi's arrival in Shannon on Saturday was "a getting-to-know-you trip to ourshores". It was "a rare opportunity" for Ireland to boost trade relations with the world's fastest-growing major economy.

  Shannon is located in County Clare and the local newspaper, The Clare Champion, quotedFine Gael politician Pat Breen, a member of Ireland's parliament, as saying he is hopeful thatthe visit will help attract Chinese tourists.

  "The entire visit will be broadcast throughout China with several television crews and a group ofinfluential journalists traveling with the entourage and it is this coverage which presents CountyClare with the opportunity to showcase our tourism product to the 1.4 billion people livingthere," he said.

  While 2 million Chinese tourists go to Europe each year, he added, only about 10,000 travel toIreland.

  Apart from politics and commerce, cultural exchanges are a priority of Xi's visit.

  Ireland also hosts more than 10,000 Chinese students, more than any other EU country on aper capita basis.

  "We should encourage cultural, art groups and artists from both countries to interact andcooperate," Xi said.

  Ma Zhengang, former director of the China Institute of International Studies and formerambassador to the United Kingdom, said Xi's visit to Ireland is mainly "a trip of friendship".

  "The strengthened relationship will also send a positive signal to Europe, which is still strugglingwith the debt crisis, that China is ready to help," Ma said.

  Cheng Guangjin in Beijing contributed to this story.

  China Daily

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