BEIJING Feb 5 China has a stake in
helping euro zone countries get through their debt crisis,
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in comments published on Sunday,
pointing to Europe's importance as a market and hinting at more
possible support for beleaguered exporters.
Wen's remarks, reported by the official Xinhua news agency,
built on comments he made during German Chancellor Angela
Merkel's recent visit to China, when he said Beijing was
considering increasing its participation in rescue funds to
address the European debt crisis.
This time, Wen urged sceptical Chinese citizens to
understand that supporting Europe was in their own benefit
"Now Europe is facing a debt crisis and we must consider
relations with Europe strategically to protect our national
interests," Wen said while visiting the export-dependent
southern Chinese province of Guangdong on Saturday, said Xinhua.
China, with its $3.2 trillion worth foreign exchange
reserves, is often seen as a potential source for funds needed
to bail out some European governments.
The Chinese premier's latest comments on the euro crisis
again did not include any specific commitments to European
economies. But he stressed the stake that China holds in
defusing the euro crisis.
"On the one hand, our biggest export market is Europe," said
Wen. "On the other hand, Europe is our biggest source for
importing technology. From this perspective, helping to
stabilise European markets in fact amounts to helping ourselves.
We must make all quarters of society understand this point."
At a joint media briefing in Beijing with Merkel on
Thursday, Wen said China was studying how it might lend Europe
"China is also considering increasing its participation in
the solution of the European debt crisis through the channels of
the EFSF and ESM," Wen said at that briefing.
The ESM, a 500-billion-euro ($650 billion) permanent bailout
fund due to become operational in July, is expected to replace
the EFSF, a temporary fund that has been used to bail out
Ireland and Portugal and will help in the second Greek package.
China has repeatedly said it supports a stable euro, and
according to most estimates, China has about a quarter of its
foreign exchange reserves in euro assets.
But Beijing has consistently been reluctant to make specific
promises about any contributions to the rescue funds.
China's exports to advanced economies, including Europe,
have been hit by their continued woes, and Wen said his
country's manufacturers would have to adapt and open up new
markets. He also hinted that more support might come.
"Import and export policy must mainain overall stability,"
said Wen in a discussion with Guangdong manufacturers, according
"If there must be adjustments, it should be more in the form
of encouragement than restrictions," said Wen.