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China says it is ready to take a more active role in looking for a solution to the European debt crisis.

Prime Minister Wen Jiabao made the statement at the opening of an EU-China summit in Beijing.

Until now China has made no specific pledge of assistance.

European debt looks set to dominate the meeting, with China increasingly concerned about the potential knock-on effect on its own economy.

EU President Herman Van Rompuy asked for better access for European countries to the Chinese market. 

“I’ve repeatedly stressed the need for a level playing field for European business, including better market access for European companies: the protection of investment and intellectual property and our concerns about protectionism. With premier Wen when we agreed on the need to promote more investments in both directions,” he said.

In the face of increasing concern over Europe’s dependence on China, the Communist Party’s People’s Daily has said Beijing had no intention of “buying Europe”.

EU leaders want China to invest some of its large foreign exchange reserves in a bailout fund to help debt-stricken countries.

On Wednesday, Van Rompuy and EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso are due to meet the Chinese President Hu Jintao.

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