BRUSSELS, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- China pledged to maintain support to Europe, its main trading partner, to recover from its debt crisis.
The promise came from Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the China-European Union Business Summit in Brussels.
The official Chinese news agency Xinhua said Wen told the meeting China is willing to work with the EU to build their bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership into a model of international cooperation in the 21st century. Those attending the summit included European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
Wen said the China-EU relationship is among the most important in the world and is also a strategic priority of China's foreign policy, Xinhua reported. He said two-way trade reached $567.2 billion last year, up nearly 21 percent since 2003.
The Chinese promise of support indicated it will continue to buy European bonds, a source of Europe's recovery, Voice of America reported.
Beijing has been buying the bonds despite Europe's embargo on arms sales to China. The EU also has not granted China tariff-free trade status.
Referring to those issues, Wen said: "We have been working hard for 10 years, but the solution has been elusive. I deeply regret this. I hope, and I do believe, that the EU side will seize the opportunity and take greater initiative at an early stage," VOA reported.
Earlier, Barroso asked the two sides to use their decade of relationship to resolve the issues.
The New York Times reported the EU considered easing the arms embargo in 2005, but there were objections from the United States and some EU members because of concerns about China's human rights violations.
In other developments, Van Rompuy and Barroso, in a statement, said, "We have asked China, as a permanent member of the Security Council, to redouble its efforts to ensure the United Nations Security Council can contribute effectively to the solution of the Syrian crisis."