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EU-Asian summit to focus on climate change, global financial crisis

Heads of state and government chiefs from 48-member Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) will are to hold talks in Brussels focused on climate change and the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

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Global financial crisis will top the summit agenda

European and Asian leaders are set to hold talks in Brussels focused on climate change and the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) groups the 27-member European Union and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Chancellor Angela Merkel is to represent Germany at the summit, which is to be followed by separate EU talks with South Korea and China. Ahead of the summit Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao pledged Beijing's support for the euro currency.

Wen described the European Union as an 'irreplaceable' trading partner ahead of talks on the global financial crisis.

ASEM summit in Beijing

Beijing hosted the last bi-annual ASEM summit in 2008

In Athens, which he visited before heading to Brussels, Wen told Greek lawmakers he was committed to improving EU-China relations.

"China wants to promote and strengthen strategic links with the European Union," he said.

Wen pledged to support the euro and facilitate investments in China, but he also urged Europeans to "limit protectionism."

The EU is expected to raise concerns about human rights in China during.

Preparatory climate talks

The ASEM summit coincides with a final preparatory meeting in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin for United Nations climate talks opening in November in Cancun, Mexico.

After the world leaders failed to reach a binding climate protection accord at a UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen last December, government representatives are set to meet again at the end of November for the next round of climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico.

UN climate talks in Copenhagen

Damage limitation after failed climate conference

On climate change, ASEM leaders will share the goal "of reaching urgently a fair, effective and comprehensive legally binding outcome," according to a draft statement obtained by the AFP news agency.

"Deep cuts in global emissions are required" to ensure the increase in global temperature remains below two degrees Celsius, it says.

There is not a lot of optimism that any binding deals on cutting greenhouse gas emissions can be reached in Cancun amid lingering bitterness following the Copenhagen summit in December which failed to secure emissions-reduction commitments.

Global trade

Economic issues were expected to dominate the meeting of ASEM nations, which represent 60 percent of the world population and global trade. Reform of the IMF will likely feature high on the agenda.

For the EU, the summits are a chance for the 27-nation bloc to tighten its links with Asia and reassert itself as a major world player.

Author: Nigel Tandy (AFP/dpa)

Editor: Chuck Penfold

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