China pledges support for troubled Spain economy

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China is willing to make "positive efforts" to help Spain with its economic recovery, state media on Monday quoted Beijing's ambassador to Madrid as saying, as a top Chinese official prepared for a visit.

Vice Premier Li Keqiang will pay a three-day visit to Spain from Tuesday, for talks likely to touch on Spain's financial woes amid fears of a sovereign debt crisis in Europe, which is China's biggest export market.

Li's meetings with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Finance Minister Elena Salgado will "play a key role" in financial stabilisation, Xinhua news agency quoted the ambassador, Zhu Bangzao, as saying.

Their talks will focus on expanding trade and economic cooperation and will also help "restore market confidence," Zhu said. The report gave no further details.

The Spanish economy, the EU's fifth largest, slumped into recession during the second half of 2008 as the global financial meltdown compounded the collapse of the once-booming property market.

China has pledged to help support struggling eurozone economies against the threat of a debt crisis after Greece and Ireland were forced to resort to international financial bailouts.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman last month said Europe would be a "major market" for investment of Beijing's massive foreign exchange reserves.

China has pledged to buy bonds from Greece and Portugal, but it has not yet made any concrete commitments on the size of its investment.

Li, who is widely tipped to become China's next premier, also will visit Britain and Germany during his trip to Europe.

© 2011 AFP

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