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Minister urges action on EU and US debts


13:20, August 14, 2011

China is worried about challenges that the European Union (EU) faces in the next two months and urged the bloc as well as the US to hold down government debts, China's commerce minister Chen Deming said at a meeting of Southeast Asian trade ministers on Friday.

"We support stabilizing measures taken by relevant countries, but we hope these countries will take measures to control their government debts proportion and take bigger responsibilities," Chen said.

"We are also concerned about new challenges facing European countries in August and September," he said, but did not elaborate.

His remarks echo recent comments from Beijing, which has invested nearly all of its $3.2 trillion foreign exchange reserves, the world's largest, in dollars and euros and would be loathe to see the currencies plummet on economic problems.

World financial markets have swung wildly in the past week on fears that Europe cannot contain its debt crisis and after a downgrade of the US sovereign credit rating.

France, Italy, Spain and Belgium on Friday imposed a ban on short selling of financial stocks, under which details varied according to country, while Britain, the Netherlands and Austria said they saw no need for action and Germany remained silent.

The piecemeal ban highlighted flaws in euro zone policy, and investors said relief for bank stocks would be temporary in the absence of coordinated action by Europe's governments, Reuters said.

In the US, an angry President Barack Obama on Thursday charged his political foes with putting political gain before country, hitting back with venom after his most punishing week in the White House.

Obama accused Republicans in Congress of blocking his efforts to tackle rampant unemployment and revive the slowing recovery, but he pledged to deliver fresh ideas to create jobs.

"I'm going to be putting out more proposals, week by week, that will help businesses hire and put people back to work," he told the a crowd of auto workers in Michigan.


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