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News Link • Economy - International

China cautious on euro bailout

• By Keith B. Richburg

BEIJING – The ritual is now familiar. European officials meet with Chinese leaders seeking assurances of help for the continent’s debt crisis. During smiling photo ops, the Chinese respond with the requisite promises to assist.

China will get involved “more deeply,” Premier Wen Jiabao said in mid-February, at a meeting in Beijing with a top-level European Union delegation. China will support the E.U. “in its own way,” said Vice President Xi Jinping, during a Feb. 20 visit to Ireland.
But behind those vague promises is reluctance by China to move too quickly, and put the country’s vast foreign exchange reserve holdings at risk. At work is a cold-headed calculation: Chinese economic policymakers currently don’t see a consensus in Europe as to what to do, and they don’t think that buying up euros, or more bonds of indebted E.U. countries, is a particularly safe bet.

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