G20 opens today, Hu to help but will not commit
China’s president is very active with emerging nations like Russia, Brazil and India. China wants Europe to make clear how it will deal with the foreign debt crisis of many of its members.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Cannes (France) for the start of the G20 summit. At a working dinner with his French counterpart, Nikolas Sarkozy, he reiterated his country’s willingness to help Europe but did not make any commitments.

On the eve of a meeting that might see emerging nations like China and Russia call for a new balance of power, Hu insisted the European Union solve its own problems.

In expressing support for last week’s EU plan, the Chinese leader said, it “demonstrates the EU's determination to solve the European debt problem and we hope that the implementation of the plan will address current difficulties in Europe”. Furthermore, “We believe Europe has the absolute wisdom and ability to solve the debt problems”.

The EU plan calls for the creation of a European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to buy bonds from indebted nations to the tune of hundreds of billions of Euros.

The European Union has asked Beijing to use some of its US$ 3.2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves to help the process. Last week, China said it would study the plan and how it might get involved but did not make any commitment even though it signalled its willingness to help.

The Chinese are conscious that the European crisis could trigger a worldwide recession if it was not dealt with quickly. “Europe is the world's largest economy, and there won't be global economic recovery without European economic recovery,” Hu acknowledged.

At the same time, experts expect Beijing to demand a greater say in institutions like the International Monetary Fund in exchange for its financial help. For its part, the European Union will try to get as much out of China as possible. Nevertheless, no one expect immediate action from China or other parties like Russia.

The situation has become more complicated after the sudden announcement by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou that he was going to submit the European aid plan to a referendum.

Hu told Sarkozy that the G20 summit must deliver “clear messages of ensuring growth and promoting stability” to the international community.

The Chinese leader was more forthcoming with other partners. Today, he met Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to discuss further development of the China-Russia strategic cooperative partnership, which could lead to a joint position vis-à-vis the European Union.

Hu also met the leaders of four countries (Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa) that, along with China, make up the BRICS group.

In addition to Europe’s problems, the G20 will discuss reforms to the international monetary system and international financial rules, in which China and the other emerging nations want to play a greater role. (PB)