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China Voices Support for EU Recovery Efforts

Greek President Karolos Papoulias,right, shows the way to Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao prior their meeting in Athens, on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010.

China says it supports a stable euro currency and efforts by the European Union to recover from the global financial crisis. Speaking with Greek lawmakers on Sunday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pledged to address European concerns about copyright violations and investment rules in China. But the Chinese leader urged the E.U. to do more to relax trade barriers.

Premier Wen Jiabao's address to Greek lawmakers was part pledge and part prodding. It came as he begins a weeklong tour of Europe that includes an Asia-Europe and an E.U.-China summit.

In addition to voicing China's support for a stable euro, Mr. Wen pledged that China would not reduce its holdings of European bonds.

He said that relations between China and the E.U. are at a historic point and are poised to develop further. Mr. Wen said that it should be the common goal of the European Union and China to promote development of their strategic relationship and increase cooperation in all economic and business sectors. He said that China is willing to improve dialogue with the E.U. to deepen mutual understanding and trust.

The 27-nation European Union is China's biggest trading partner. Last year, it imported nearly $300 billion in goods from China. Mr. Wen said that trade levels this year already have exceeded levels reached prior to the global financial crisis.

Still, trade ties between China and the E.U. have their challenges. They include concerns about the undervaluation of the Chinese currency and market access in China for European firms.

Mr. Wen said China is committed to improving foreign investment in China. And he urged the E.U. to do the same. Mr. Wen said that China is committed to confronting threats to intellectual property rights, expanding bilateral trade and upgrading cooperation in technology. He said the Chinese government hopes that the European Union will quickly recognize China's potential as a full market economy, relax restrictions on the export of high tech goods to China and fight European protectionism.

Mr. Wen arrived in Athens on Saturday. His weeklong trip will also take him to Italy and Turkey, after a stop in Brussels.

In his remarks, Mr. Wen pledged to double the amount of trade with Greece to $8 billion in five years and extend credit to Greek shipowners who buy Chinese-built vessels. The premier is traveling with chinese business leaders and eight members of his Cabinet.

Mr. Wen also promised that China would buy Greek bonds when they return to the international market.

Greece has been seeking international investment since narrowly avoiding a financial collapse earlier this year. The country has undertaken a series of reforms to reduce its debt as part of a $140 billion bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.