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EC President Discusses Euro, Human Rights with China’s Hu

VOA News,May 16th, 2011
The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, has thanked China for supporting Europe’s efforts to overcome its debt crisis, but also has asked the Asian country to improve its human rights record.

Van Rompuy met with Chinese President Hu Jintao Monday in Beijing, during his first official visit to China. The two leaders agreed that the stability of the euro is a shared interest and is key for the recovery of the world economy.

China has bought some of the debt incurred by weaker European economies, such as Greece and Spain, and has signaled that it is ready to buy more.

President Hu said China will continue to provide convenience for investments from EU firms. In return, he asked for a better investment environment for Chinese firms in Europe.

Van Rompuy praised China’s cooperation with the 27-member European bloc, but he said both have a responsibility to safeguard human rights. He said China’s contribution in this area will be an important element shaping its reputation and influence in the future.

China’s increased crackdown on rights activists and dissidents in recent months has raised concern worldwide.

Van Rompuy’s visit includes a stop in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, and in Shanghai, China’s economic hub.

The European Union’s top official also is scheduled to meet with Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice President Xi Jinping before leaving China Wednesday.