/ 14 February 2012

Beijing says that China and EU must join forces

China said Tuesday that it and the European Union need to work together to solve Europe’s debt crisis.

Premier Wen Jiabao told EU President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that the two sides were strategic partners and it was in their basic interests to work together.

”We need to work together to send a positive, beneficial message to make necessary contributions toward pushing China-EU and even global unity and cooperation,” Wen said before sitting down for a meeting with the two.

The EU leaders are in Beijing for a China-EU summit, which is also expected to focus on Syria, Iran and EU plans to introduce a carbon charge on airlines, which China has rejected.

The summit comes a day after rating agency Moody’s downgraded its credit ratings on Italy, Portugal and Spain. France, Britain and Austria kept their top ratings but had their outlooks dropped to ”negative” from ”stable.”

Van Rompuy said economies of the two sides were ”so interdependent that change in the growth rate in one of the two strategic partners has a direct and palpable impact on the other one.”

Beijing has urged Europe to get a handle on the growing financial crisis in Europe, but has not said yet if it will invest in a bailout fund designed to rescue debt-stricken states.

One positive step came in Greece, where lawmakers approved harsh new austerity measures demanded by bailout creditors to save the nation from bankruptcy.

The vote was crucial for the country to secure &euro130-billion ($172-billion) in new rescue loans and avoid a potentially catastrophic default next month — bankruptcy could push Greece out of Europe’s euro currency union, drag down other troubled eurozone countries and further roil global markets.

The talks between EU and Chinese officials are expected to touch on a European law imposing charges on airline carbon emissions. China has said it will prohibit its airlines from paying the charges, aimed at curbing emissions of climate-changing gases. Other governments including the United States and Russia oppose them.

The EU is also expected to push Beijing on Syria. China along with Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution more than a week ago that would have pressured Syria’s President Bashar Assad to step down, saying a vote was called before differences in the proposal were bridged. — Sapa-AP