China has no plans to 'buy out Europe'
China has no intention to "buy out Europe", a top state-run newspaper said Monday, reiterating comments made by Premier Wen Jiabao ahead of a major summit with the European Union in Beijing.
The Chinese government has in recent weeks sought to calm concerns in Europe that a wave of investment by Chinese companies and government-backed funds will give Beijing too much influence over struggling European economies.
"China not only does not have the appetite or ability to 'buy out Europe' or 'control Europe' like some in Europe have said, but also supports the euro and European Union from start to finish," the People's Daily said.
The commentary in the overseas edition of the Communist Party mouthpiece also reiterated comments made by Wen earlier this month that China was mulling helping out in the European debt crisis, through the International Monetary Fund or bailout funds.
"For many years, the European Union has been China's biggest export market and largest source of technology, as well as a major provider of foreign investment," it said.
"This is the main consideration behind what Premier Wen said -- that 'helping Europe is actually helping China itself'."
The comment piece comes a day ahead of a major EU-China summit that takes place against a backdrop of concern over the eurozone crisis, which has seen a wave of credit-rating downgrades and brought Greece to the brink of bankruptcy.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy will attend the summit in Beijing on Tuesday, as will Wen.
European leaders have previously called on China, which has the world's largest foreign exchange reserves, to invest in a bailout fund to rescue debt-stricken countries.
China has so far made no firm commitment to provide financial assistance, other than Wen's comments made during German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit and reiterated in the People's Daily on Monday.
But Chinese companies and funds have ramped up their investment in Europe, buying up utilities, energy firms and even luxury yacht makers, in a move welcomed by some but eyed with concern by others.
Analysts say bargain-hunting -- and not the secret hand of Beijing -- is driving the recent wave of acquisitions as Chinese firms seek to expand abroad and the country's sovereign wealth fund diversifies away from US bonds.
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