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Chinese Premier warns against protectionism

VISITING Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday warned against protectionism in face of lingering global financial crisis.

Speaking at a meeting with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Wen said as international financial crisis is spreading, his visit to London was to send a message of confidence for Britain and China to join hands in overcoming current difficulties.

He noted that the two sides should further explore the potential for cooperation, and guard against trade protectionism, in particular.

The premier, who arrived in London on Saturday for a three-day official visit, welcomed British businesses to invest in China, while expressing wishes for Britain to increase exports of goods, technology and equipment to China.

On the upcoming G20 summit in April, Wen pledged that China would work together with Britain towards an active achievement.

Blair said the international community highly values China's role and views in dealing with the current financial crisis. Wen's speech at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos has sent a message of confidence in strengthening cooperation and overcoming difficulties.

The former British prime minister noted that Britain supports free trade, and is opposed to protectionism in trade. Businesses in the country also wish to further their ties with China.

Yesterday, Wen also met with David Cameron, leader of Britain's Conservative Party, the major opposition party.

Wen told Cameron that China attaches great importance to developing relations with the Conservative Party, and is willing to further inter-party exchanges and improve mutual understanding and cooperation.

Cameron said his party and himself adheres to one-China policy and developing relations with China, and would continue to strengthen exchanges and ties.

Wen also briefed China's policy and measures on dealing with financial crisis, adding it's imperative for the two sides to adhere to fair and open trade in resolving issues arising from the international financial system.

According to the premier, Sino-British cooperation is beneficial to both countries.

Cameron noted that China has been a responsible country in coping with the financial crisis, and China's policies of stimulating domestic demands while keeping its market open has been beneficial to Britain and the world alike.

Cameron hoped that the two countries would strengthen bilateral and multilateral ties, and work together in facing the crisis.

During his three-day visit, Wen will meet with people from political, business and financial circles. He will also deliver a speech at the University of Cambridge.

On Saturday, Wen met with Stephen Perry, chairman of 48 Group Club, and the representatives of "Young Icebreakers."

His trip is a return visit for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's China tour early last year, as a regular high-level meeting mechanism set between the two countries.

Britain is the last leg of Wen's week-long European tour, which began Tuesday and has already taken him to Switzerland, Germany, the European Union (EU) headquarters in Brussels and Spain.


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