China to Europe: Lean on me?

It all comes down to how you interpret the story, we suppose.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is likely breathing (yet another) sigh of relief, after Chinese President Hu Jintao confirmed (once more) that China is committed to helping the Eurozone out of its all-encompassing, irritatingly persistent financial crisis.

Chinese President Hu said Thursday that China most definitely supports Europe’s efforts to overcome its debt crisis, and emphasized the importance of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) role in resolving various financial issues.

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency has more details:

“In regards to the European debt crisis, Hu said Europe’s early financial recovery is conducive to the stability and recovery of the world economy and to China’s economic growth. He said China is ready to maintain communication and coordination with the international community to jointly prevent risks, safeguard the stability of the global financial system and promote sustainable recovery and growth in the world economy …

Germany hopes to increase trade, investment and economic cooperation between Europe and China, said Merkel, who also expressed opposition to trade and investment protectionism.

Hu congratulated the success of the China-Germany government consultation, saying China is ready to work with Germany to practically implement the results achieved in both high-level meetings and the second round of government consultation.

Noting that both China and Germany are countries of major influence in the world, Hu said the two countries share broad common interests on bilateral, regional and multilateral affairs, adding that the two countries jointly shoulder major responsibilities and face the same challenges.”

So Europe and China are new BFFs. Or are they?

According to the Globe and Mail, not necessarily. Maybe it’s best not to trust Xinhua for everything–the Globe just ran a story about Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, calling for action on the debt crisis and telling Italy, Greece and Spain to… well… start being team players.

“Expressing alarm at Europe’s debt problems, Premier Wen called on Greece, Spain and Italy to embrace budget cuts and get their finances in order after meeting Thursday with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Mr. Wen said Beijing is willing to keep buying European bonds but gave no sign Beijing will bail out the euro zone …

Mr. Wen’s comments were unusually pointed for China, which says governments should not interfere in each other’s affairs. But the country’s leaders are increasingly worried about the safety of their European debt holdings and European economies where Chinese companies are expanding.

Mr. Wen said Beijing was willing to buy European bonds so long as it could evaluate the risks and to help the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank – the so-called troika – support indebted euro zone countries ‘in overcoming hardships.'”

Here’s hoping.

What do you think? Is China meddling, or the last hope for a once-great continent?

Read more on China, France, America and the world beyond in the latest edition of Carnet Atlantique!

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