Chinese P.M. to visit Europe

Jan. 20, 2009 at 10:59 PM
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BEIJING, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will discuss the global economic crisis with European leaders during his upcoming trip, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Wen's itinerary includes the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jiang Yu of the Foreign Ministry said.

The prime minister is to leave for Europe Jan. 27. In addition to Davos, he is to visit Germany, Spain, Britain and the EU headquarters in Brussels. The trip ends Feb. 2.

One country Wen will avoid is France. Relations were frayed last month when President Nicolas Sarkozy, at a time when France held the rotating EU presidency, met with the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader who advocates for Tibet to regain its independence from China.

Wu Baiyi, a professor of European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Wen's visit to Brussels is symbolic, an effort to show that China wants a good relationship with the European Union. France is no longer the president.

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