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China Pledges To Support Euro

Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping has reiterated his country's commitment to support the euro and the Eurozone, insisting that Beijing attaches great importance to the status of the 17-member single currency bloc.

"We believe, the European Union (EU) has the ability, wisdom and solution to push forward relevant reforms and adjust itself to overcome the current difficulties," China's state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as telling Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny during their talks in Dublin late on Sunday.

"China will continue to support, in its own way, the efforts of the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund in resolving sovereign debt crisis in Europe," Xi said, adding that China views EU as a comprehensive strategic partner.

Stressing that developing China-EU relations remains the top priority of Beijing's foreign policy, Xi said China would continue to support Europe's integration process and encourage the European Union to expand its role in the international arena.

Xi also called for improved China-Ireland relations, stating that the two nations should work on boosting friendship as well as developing mutual trust and expanding communication and cooperation in wide ranging fields.

Kenny, on his part, said Ireland was ready to build closer relations with China and hoped for developing cooperation between the two nations in the fields of trade, investment, education, agriculture and tourism. Stating that Ireland would make sincere efforts to promote EU-China relations, Kenny said his country was willing to provide preferential treatment to Chinese investors.

After their talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of a slew of bilateral agreements between the two nations. Xi, who arrived in Ireland from the U.S. on Saturday, is scheduled to meet Irish President Michael Higgins and Parliament leaders before he leaves for Turkey on Monday.

The European Union remains China's largest export market, implying that a stable euro would help in advancing China's exports and promoting economic growth. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had said during talks with EU leaders in Beijing last week that his nation was ready to play a "bigger part" in solving the eurozone debt crisis.

Separately, Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi said after talks with Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan in Beijing on Sunday that both Beijing and Tokyo were committed to resolving the Eurozone debt crisis.

He said China and Japan were ready to support the expansion of the International Monetary Fund's resources to help combat EU's debt crisis if the European bloc initiated more steps to deal with the ongoing debt problems faced by many of its member-states.

"We shared the view that Europe needs to make more efforts to create a bigger firewall," Azumi said after his talks with Qishan, adding that the two nations were willing to "take common action in response to an IMF request" for additional funds for tackling the Eurozone debt crisis.

The IMF had announced last month that it was seeking to boost its lending resources by as much as $500 billion in order to assist nations that are struggling with their sovereign debts. The proposed figure includes the recent European commitment of about $200 billion in additional funds. Nevertheless, The United States has said that it will not provide additional funds to the IMF.

Sunday's offer by China and Japan comes as Greece is closing in on a deal to secure a new EUR 130 billion bailout loan that would provide Athens with sufficient funds to repay EUR 14.5 billion bond due March 20. Eurozone finance ministers are due to meet later on Monday to discus and finalize the Greek bailout deal.

by RTT Staff Writer

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