BEIJING (Reuters) - China hopes that Europe will take steps to protect China’s investments there, Chinese President Hu Jintao told the French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday, nonetheless voicing confidence in the euro and vowing to keep investing in it.
Sarkozy, making a brief visit to Beijing, in turn pressed Hu for China’s support for his G20 agenda.
“China is concerned about the impact of the euro debt crisis, hopes that the European economy can maintain stability, and hopes that the countries concerned can achieve success in their financial reforms,” Hu told Sarkozy, according to Chinese television news.
“China has confidence in the European economy and the euro, and we are sure that Europe has the wisdom and ability to surmount its current hardships and maintain economic stability and growth,” said Hu.
“China will continue making Europe one of its principle investment markets, and we hope that Europe will take measures to ensure the security of Chinese investments there.”
With about a quarter of China’s record foreign currency reserves of more than $3 trillion held in euro assets, Beijing has been unsettled by the threat to the euro, even as Chinese leaders have said they believe Europe can surmount its woes.
Along with Germany, France has resisted calls from other countries in the euro zone to expand the zone’s 440 billion euro bailout fund and introduce joint issuance of bonds by countries in the bloc as ways to address the crisis.
Sarkozy came to Beijing with his own agenda of seeking China’s renewed support for France’s plans for the G20 summit of major developed and developing economies that it will host in October. He appeared to get what he came for.
“The G20 summit must be conclusive, must be decisive, and must take part in the revival of global growth. It’s a major task and China plays an essential role,” Sarkozy told Hu.
Discussing the G20 agenda, Hu said uncertainties and destabilizing factors affecting the world’s economic recovery are on the rise, and the global economy faces “grim” challenges.
China agrees about the core issues for the G20 summit in France, Hu told Sarkozy, according to the television report.
France will chair a meeting of G7 finance ministers in Marseille on September 9-10 to discuss the global economy, followed by a gathering of G20 finance ministers in Paris in October.
Sarkozy has said Chinese backing is essential for France’s G20 goals, which include a roadmap for tackling economic imbalances and measures to reduce market speculation and commodity price volatility.
Sarkozy stopped briefly in Beijing on his way to France’s Pacific territory of New Caledonia. The French Finance Minister Francois Baroin, traveling with Sarkozy, is due to remain in China on Friday to discuss the G20 agenda.
Additional reporting by Lucy Hornby, Zhou Xin, Kevin Yao and Chris Buckley; Editing by Ken Wills and Brian Rhoads