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Financial crisis 'not China's fault'
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China should not be blamed for any matter regarding the global financial crisis, as the country has tried its best to improve the economic situation, a European diplomat said ahead of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Europe next week.

"China's efforts to stimulate its economy are going to benefit the world as well," Serge Abou, the EU ambassador to China, told China Daily in an interview earlier this month.

"We're not blaming China for any matter about the financial crisis. The crisis was not born in China," he said.

Though some countries expect China to play a bigger role in combating the crisis, Abou said Beijing's top priority now was to secure its steady growth.

"It is the responsibility of each country to revive and secure the steady growth of its economy during the economic crisis," he said.

China's 4-trillion-yuan (US$586 billion) stimulus plan, announced in November, "is truly beneficial to the entire world", he said.

Abou's comments came after the US treasury secretary Henry Paulson blamed emerging countries with high savings, such as China, for the financial crisis, which originated in the US.

Abou said European leaders were keen to know China's latest economic development, and were very eager to meet Wen.

"In these hard times, we are very committed to each other. We consider the steady prosperity of China very important to the stability of the world.

"So the first message we're waiting for in Europe is how China is doing in terms of its economy," he said.

The ambassador, who will accompany Wen during his visit to the EU headquarters in Brussels, also revealed that "many cooperation deals and trade contracts" would be signed during the premier's visit.

Abou said he hoped Wen's visit will start improving China-EU ties, which turned sour last year.

"The summit which was to take place in France last year was postponed. It was an unprecedented event," he said, referring to the cancelled Sino-EU summit following French President Nicolas Sarkozy's meeting with the Dalai Lama.

"We're expecting to learn how Wen aims to strengthen the strategic, long-term partnership with Europe," Abou said.

Brushing aside speculation that the annual summit may not resume any time soon, Abou confirmed there will be a summit this year. However, he did not know the exact dates as yet.

"France is a very important country in the European Union. We hope the problem can be solved as soon as possible," he said.

Bill Rammell, visiting Minister for foreign & commonwealth affairs of the UK, said that Wen's European tour will offer a chance to push forward international financial reform amid the global financial turmoil.

"We (China and UK) have a shared agenda to reform the international fiscal institutions and improve financial regulations in those institutions," Rammell said in Beijing on Tuesday, noting both sides will hold a summit in London this year.

He said trade issues will also be discussed during the summit.

"We both are very clear that we need to oppose protectionism," Rammell said.

(China Daily January 21, 2009)

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