DUBLIN, Ireland, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Vice President Xi Jinping, in line to become China's next leader, reassured his hosts in Ireland about his country's support for the euro and the eurozone.
Xi, expected to succeed Hu Jintao this year as China's president and general secretary of the Communist Party, arrived in Dublin Saturday after visiting the United States.
His trip comes at a time when the eurozone, of which Ireland is a member, faces a huge debt crisis with more of its members facing tough economic times and ratings downgrades.
In his talks with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, Xi said China attaches importance to the status of the euro and expressed optimism about the prospect of the single European currency.
"We believe the European Union has the ability, wisdom and solution to push forward relevant reforms and adjust itself to overcome the current difficulties," Xi said, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
"China will continue to support, in its own way, the efforts of the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund in resolving (the) sovereign debt crisis in Europe."
The EU is China's biggest export market, and a stable euro is seen as being good for the Communist country.
Xi said developing China-EU relations is a priority of China's foreign policy.
The Irish leader was quoted as saying his country wants to build closer relations with China and would provide preferential treatment for Chinese investors in Ireland.
The two leaders witnessed the signing of several cooperation documents.
"I look forward to opening a new chapter in the close and warm relationship between Ireland and China," The Irish Times quoted Kenny as saying.