Wen says China has stake in helping Europe

Sun Feb 5, 2012 4:01am EST
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China has a stake in helping euro zone countries get through their debt crisis, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in comments published on Sunday, pointing to Europe's importance as a market and hinting at more possible support for beleaguered exporters.

Wen's remarks, reported by the official Xinhua news agency, built on comments he made during German Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent visit to China, when he said Beijing was considering increasing its participation in rescue funds to address the European debt crisis.

This time, Wen urged skeptical Chinese citizens to understand that supporting Europe was in their own benefit

"Now Europe is facing a debt crisis and we must consider relations with Europe strategically to protect our national interests," Wen said while visiting the export-dependent southern Chinese province of Guangdong on Saturday, said Xinhua.

China, with its $3.2 trillion worth foreign exchange reserves, is often seen as a potential source for funds needed to bail out some European governments.

The Chinese premier's latest comments on the euro crisis again did not include any specific commitments to European economies. But he stressed the stake that China holds in defusing the euro crisis.

"On the one hand, our biggest export market is Europe," said Wen. "On the other hand, Europe is our biggest source for importing technology. From this perspective, helping to stabilize European markets in fact amounts to helping ourselves. We must make all quarters of society understand this point."

At a joint media briefing in Beijing with Merkel on Thursday, Wen said China was studying how it might lend Europe further support.

"China is also considering increasing its participation in the solution of the European debt crisis through the channels of the EFSF and ESM," Wen said at that briefing.   Continued...

<p>Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reacts during a news conference in Doha January 18, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous</p>