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Asia-pacific

Merkel looks to calm eurozone fears in China

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-02-02

German Chancellor Angela Merkal began a three-day visit to China Thursday to discuss the ailing eurozone. She was set to meet with President Hu Jintao and investors to boost confidence in the euro, and will also discuss Iran and Syria.

AFP - German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in China on Thursday for a three-day visit that will focus on the eurozone crisis, Iran, and Syria.

Her trip comes just days after China was hit by deadly unrest in Tibetan-inhabited areas, and the leader of Europe's biggest economy will also broach the issue of human rights with her Chinese counterparts.

Germany and China, the world's top two exporters, enjoy vibrant trade relations and Merkel will meet investors and seek to boost confidence in Europe on her fifth trip to the world's second largest economy.

She is due to make a key address on the euro crisis Thursday morning, before holding talks with Premier Wen Jiabao later in the afternoon.

Accompanied by a trade delegation, she will also hold talks with President Hu Jintao and visit the wealthy, southern province of Guangdong -- a manufacturing hub -- on Friday.

Observers will be watching her visit for any mention of last week's violence in Tibetan-inhabited areas of Sichuan province, which saw police fire on protesters in unrest that left at least two ethnic Tibetans dead.

A German government source said human rights would figure highly on the trip's agenda, with Merkel keen to talk about minority issues and social development in China.

The German leader will also discuss the eurozone with her Chinese counterparts, who are keen to see a return to growth in Europe and a stable euro.

She will hold talks on possible increased Chinese involvement in the International Monetary Fund, access to Chinese markets and intellectual property rights, the source said.

Merkel will also urge China not to take advantage of Europe's ban on Iranian oil -- imposed on Tehran over its nuclear programme -- to boost its own imports of the resource, the source said.

And the German leader will ask for Beijing's support for a UN Security Council resolution against Syria, where fighting between President Bashar al-Assad's security forces and rebels is escalating.

On Friday, Merkel will fly to Guangdong -- where nearly 500 German companies are already present -- with Wen and executives from the energy, chemicals, engineering, banking and electronics sectors.

On the agenda of her discussions will also be rare earths -- valuable elements that are used in the production of high-tech products and which are of "very great importance for the German economy," the source said.

China has been accused of deliberately restricting their exports to drive up prices and force manufacturers onto its shores, but Beijing says it limits them for environmental reasons as mining them is very polluting.

 

Date created : 2012-02-02

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