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14th EU-China Summit to focus on 'strengthening cooperation'

Eurozone debt, carbon charges and EU’s embargo on Iranian oil are all expected to be discussed during the summit.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy will travel to Beijing for the talks
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy will travel to Beijing for the talks
Image: Virginia Mayo/AP/Press Association Images

THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL President and European Commission President travel to Beijing today to meet with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao for the 14th EU-China Summit, with talks expected to centre on the European debt crisis and on ways to strengthen cooperation between the regions.

The EU has become China’s biggest trading partner since the launch of their strategic partnership in 2003, and China is getting closer to becoming the EU largest trading partner, said EU officials.

“The EU and China, as two major economic partners, share a responsibility for addressing the challenges of our time,” said European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. “By working more closely together, the EU and China can make a difference and reap mutual benefits for our economies and address the needs of our peoples.”

Van Rompuy said that he was looking forward to having in-depth discussion with China’s Prime Minister Wen on “bilateral cooperation and on global and international issues” on which they need to “engage actively”with one another. He and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso will also hold separate talks with President Hu Jintao and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang.

Talks are expected to touch on Europe’s decision to put a carbon charge on all incoming flights – a move to which Beijing has strongly objected. China’s relations with Iran are also likely to be discussed, with European leaders seeking assurances that China is not planning to buy excess oil from the region once the EU oil embargo is set in place, euronews reports.

Ahead of the Summitr, Barroso said: ”We face common challenges and the world needs cooperative and responsible partnerships to overcome them. It is now, more than ever that we must act together. I believe that a forward-looking and growing EU-China partnership can represent an important pillar for global stability and prosperity.”

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