BEIJING: China should demand the debt-stricken euro zone area guarantee investments, an editorial in the country's top official paper said on Saturday, arguing that Beijing must not enter single-handedly into any European debt bailout.   

The call came in an editorial of the overseas edition of the People's Daily, the official paper of China's ruling Communist Party. While such an editorial does not amount to a statement of government policy, it underscored the pressures on Beijing to win assurances for investments in the troubled euro zone.   

"For China, under the conditions of globalization, supporting Europe out of its debt crisis would help global economic recovery and the stability of the international financial system, and as well Europe remains China's biggest export market," said the front-page editorial written by Li Xiangyang, a foreign policy researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a state-run think tank in Beijing.   

"However, we must clearly understand that there are systemic risks in investing in European bonds," wrote Li.   

"Confronted with the latent systemic risks in European debt, China must both play the role of a responsible major power, but must also make security a precondition for investing."   

China's pile of USD3.2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves is the biggest in the world, and keeps growing thanks to trade surpluses and capital inflows. Analysts estimate that China holds about a quarter of its foreign exchange in euro assets, and there are few other places for it to park investments of such a scale.   

But a chorus of voices in the past week has revealed anxieties in China about the security of those euro assets.   

China remains willing to invest in Europe but wants rich economies to show they are serious about tackling debt, Premier Wen Jiabao said this week, sending the euro zone a mix of reassurance and demands.    

(Agencies)