China's Hu arrives in Vienna for Europe visit, amid euro crisis

30th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

China's President Hu Jintao arrived Sunday evening in Vienna for a state visit ahead of a crucial G20 meeting in France, amid hopes that Beijing may lend a helping hand to the debt-stricken EU.

The two-day visit to Austria, the second only by a Chinese president after Jiang Zemin in 1999, comes as Vienna and Beijing celebrate 40 years of bilateral relations.

On the agenda of the trip, which begins officially on Monday, are talks with Austrian President Heinz Fischer and Chancellor Werner Faymann, as well as the signing of bilateral agreements and a state banquet.

A 160-strong delegation was reportedly accompanying Hu, while minor protests by Tibetan groups were planned during his stay.

Hu and his wife Liu Yongqing will also visit Salzburg on Tuesday, before flying on to the G20 summit in Cannes, France on Wednesday.

Hu's visit to Europe, his second in a year, comes after EU leaders last week appealed to China to invest in the region's debt rescue fund to help it overcome a spiralling debt crisis.

Hopes had been high that Beijing might pitch in to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), but Beijing has officially remained non-committal about its involvement.

On Friday, Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao played down hopes of a breakthrough at the G20 meeting, insisting investment in the European bailout fund was not on the agenda.

© 2011 AFP

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