News / Asia

China Ready to Help Europe Return to Economic Health

Jiang Yu
Jiang Yu

China says it is ready to do what it can to help European countries deal with the financial crisis that has shaken confidence in the euro.  The statement follows reports that China is ready to buy billions of dollars worth of Portuguese bonds. 

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu says China supports international plans to help European countries weather the financial crisis.

Jiang said China will do what it can to support euro zone countries to overcome the financial crisis, as well as bring about economic and fiscal recovery.

A Portuguese newspaper this week reported that China will buy more than $5 billion worth of Portuguese sovereign debt early next year, to help the country ward off pressure in debt markets.  This news helped the euro gain against the dollar, although China's Central Bank has not confirmed it.

Jiang on Thursday would not confirm the details of the report, because she said that decision does not rest with the Foreign Ministry.  But she said China will continue to invest some of its foreign exchange reserves in Europe.

Jiang said the European Union will remain one of the major markets for China's foreign exchange investment.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao publicly offered to buy Greek bonds during a visit to Athens in October.  A month later, President Hu Jintao visited Portugal and, although he did not offer to buy Portuguese bonds, he did offer "concrete measures" to help that country's weak economy.

Portugal's finance minister met with his Chinese counterpart and the head of China's Central Bank in China last week.

China is the world's largest holder of foreign exchange reserves.  It already holds substantial foreign exchange reserves in euros, and is the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt.

The European Union this year has battled a financial crisis caused by excessive debt and budget deficits in several EU nations, particularly Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

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