China won't "poison the water", investment chief tells EU, U.S.

MUNICH Fri Feb 1, 2013 12:50pm EST

MUNICH Feb 1 (Reuters) - The head of China's sovereign wealth fund urged European and U.S. officials on Friday not to see Chinese investments as a threat to their national security interests, saying his country would not put money into "anything sensitive".

Jin Liqun, chairman of China Investment Corporation's supervisory board, told a conference of politicians, security officials and diplomats in Munich that his fund thought it was "a very good time to invest in this part of the world".

There is "no reason why we should be pessimistic about Europe," he also told the conference, which included senior economic officials from the euro zone such as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

"But I hope you will be open. You should not be obsessed with so-called national security," he said, speaking in English, in a panel debate.

"Let me assure you we will not touch anything which is sensitive, we will not do anything in any sector, or work with any company in Europe or in the United States which would imply national security for you," said the official.

He gave the example of his fund's investments in London's Heathrow Airport and London utility Thames Water, saying "some Americans" were surprised that Britain allowed China to take major stakes in such strategic businesses.

"Some people say 'Are you afraid of the Chinese poisoning the water?' That would be crazy," he said. "We are financial investors. We give you the money, we put our money in any company without meddling with your management."

He said the main problem for the European Union's single currency zone in tackling the sovereign debt crisis, is to muster enough political will to carry out unpopular reforms, especially those affecting the job market.

"In spite of demonstrations in some cities like Athens or Madrid I believe, through my research, that the mainstream, the general public, are supportive of the austerity measures," he said.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Find your dream retirement town

Florida? Hawaii? Reuters has teamed up with Zillow to give you the power to customize a list of your best places to retire.  Video | Full Article