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Chinese premier embarks on fence-mending tour of Europe - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Chinese premier Wen Jiabao will arrive in Europe on Tuesday (27 January) for a visit that Chinese foreign ministry officials have described as a 'Journey of Confidence.'

His first stop will be the World Economic Forum annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland, ahead of a number of scheduled meetings with European leaders in a bid to mend fences following the postponing of last month's EU-China summit.

Chinese citizens celebrated the start of the Year of the Ox on Monday

China called off the summit in protest against French President Nicholas Sarkozy's meeting with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader.

France held the rotating EU presidency at the time and Paris has been conspicuously excluded from Mr Wen's itinerary of meetings that will seek, amongst other things, to boost trade ties between the two regions.

Both sides are heavily reliant on each other and keen to solidify good ties in the current economic downturn. The EU is China's largest trading partner, whereas China is the EU's second largest external trade partner, after the United States.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 04:15:13 PM EST
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