Hu tells Sarkozy China has faith in Europe's economy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 August, 2011, 12:00am


China still has confidence in the European economy, President Hu Jintao told French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in hastily arranged talks in Beijing yesterday, while urging European countries to take measures to protect Chinese investment.

For his part, Sarkozy reiterated that both France and Germany were committed to safeguarding the stability of the euro. He called for China to play an important role in the Group of 20 to tackle the deepening financial crisis. Sarkozy said he had not asked China to invest more in euro assets.

Sarkozy made a brief stop in Beijing yesterday to discuss the European debt crisis and the agenda for the G20 summit in Cannes in November. The trip was announced on Sunday, and Sarkozy left for New Caledonia after diner with Hu.

In addition to the lingering debt crisis, the two also discussed the situation in Syria and Libya.

Sarkozy said China had reservations about - but had not blocked - military intervention in Libya, and he invited China to participate in a meeting in Paris soon to discuss Libya's future governance.

But financial issues were the focus, as the panic caused by the European sovereign debt crisis spreads to France, with rumours that its second-biggest bank, Societe Generale, is on the brink of bankruptcy.

Hu gave an upbeat assessment of the sovereign debt issue in Europe.

'China is convinced that Europe has the wisdom and ability to overcome current difficulties and maintain economic stability and growth,' a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release quoted Hu as saying.

He said China would continue to make Europe a major investment market and he 'looks forward to measures by the European side to ensure the security of Chinese investment in Europe'.

Sarkozy said he needed to ensure that the Cannes summit would play an active role in the world's economic recovery, and that China's participation was important.

'I think it would be inappropriate for me if I did not come to China to discuss with you the serious economic problems that are worrying the world,' he said.

Speaking at a press briefing after the meeting, Sarkozy said the value of the euro would be protected, and euro assets were still a good investment choice for China.

He said they discussed currency reform, the internationalisation of the yuan and reform of the International Monetary Fund to enhance the representation of emerging markets.