China wants to deepen economic partnership with EU
Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi said Monday (7 March) both his country and the EU should deepen their economic and trade partnership.
"Both sides should work together to pursue the political partnership based on mutual respect and mutual trust and deepen their win-win economic and trade partnership," he said at a press conference on the margins of the annual session of the country's legislature.
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China has been "following closely" the European debt crisis and bought treasury bonds from debt-stricken euro-states such as Spain, Mr Jiechi noted, while adding that such purchases should not be met with suspicion.
"We believe the steps taken by China have been well received by the countries and people in Europe, particularly by those governments and people," he said.
China opposes politicising trade issues and rejects double standards and discrimination, he stressed.
The Asian country also wants to adjust its huge trade imbalance with Europe, as it currently exports goods worth €130 billion more than the imports from EU countries.
A flurry of trade envoys, interested especially in buying "energy saving and environmentally friendly products" will be going to the UK, Germany and France in the next couple of months, Wan Jifei, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, told China Daily.
"Maintaining balanced trade is now an urgent task for China. We will not only organise more trade delegations this year, but also increase efforts to hold more import-themed forums and exhibitions," said Wan.
China's economy grew by 10.3 per cent last year but rising food and housing prices are giving way to dissent among the country's less privileged.
Wary of Arab-inspired protests, the city of Shanghai has banned a St Patrick's Day parade, the Irish Times reports, while security measures all over the country are being stepped up. During the parliament's session, plans were unveiled to increase spending on law and order by nearly 14 percent.
Foreign journalists are also being subject to detention and extra identity checks, while being barred from sites of potential protests in Beijing and Shanghai, the Independent reports.
The country's foreign minister, however, dismissed claims of plain-clothed security officials beating up foreign journalists.
"There are no such issues," he said during the press conference. "China is a country under the rule of law, and we abide by the law. We have always followed relevant laws and regulations in managing the affairs related to foreign journalists in China," he added.