President Xi meets top EU leaders, free-Tibet demonstration


China’s president met with the top officials of the European Union on Monday to discuss the two sides’ close business ties and their wider diplomatic relations.

Xi Jinping became the first Chinese leader to visit the headquarters of the 28-country EU in Brussels.

He met with the head of the EU’s executive arm, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Herman Van Rompuy, who chairs the meetings of the bloc’s 28 national leaders.

The EU is China’s largest trading partner, while China is Europe’s second-largest, trailing only the US.

China and Europe trade well over 1 billion euros worth (1.37 billion US dollars) a day.

The Chinese leader’s visit attracted a free-Tibet demonstration outside the European Parliament.

More than 100 Tibetans and free Tibet supporters peacefully demonstrated for human rights for people living in Tibet.

The demonstrators held placards urging the Chinese President to meet with the Tibetans’ spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Many had their heads shaved in remembrance of Tibetans who have self-immolated and died calling for freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.

Xi visited Belgium as part of a wider European tour that also has taken him to France, Germany and the Netherlands.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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