China's Xi seeks peace in Europe but side-steps Ukraine

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By Robin Emmott BRUGES, Belgium (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping told Europe on Tuesday that Beijing opposed intervention in other countries' affairs but he declined to directly criticize Russia for its annexation of Crimea. Xi also assured European leaders that China was a close ally committed to the continent's peace and prosperity. Ending his European tour with a speech in the Belgian city of Bruges, Xi said he considered China's relationship with the European Union as Beijing's priority and praised its commitment to a lasting peace that China would also seek to uphold. He said that while the memory of foreign invasion and bullying had never been erased from the minds of the Chinese people, "I have come to Europe to build a bridge across the Eurasian continent." Xi's speech to dignitaries including the Belgian king and prime minister were his only public remarks during three days in Belgium.