China and the European Union said on Wednesday they faced a gamut of divisive issues and differences in efforts to seal an entente on economic and foreign policy matters.
Opening a one-day China-European Union summit, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and EU president Herman Van Rompuy admitted to differences of view while calling for continued progress in their partnership.
"We have commonalities but at same time differences in our approach," Van Rompuy said.
"This is to be expected and should not impede our joint will to bring our relationship to a higher level. On the contrary, they should stimulate our discussion," he said. Wen headed into the potentially fractious summit with its top trading partner facing calls for improved trade conditions, a revaluation of the yuan and progress on human rights.
He responded by saying: "It is true that between China and the EU there are still a number of major issues that have remained unresolved for a long time. "That is not in keeping with the fundamental interests of both sides," he said.
"Facing the impact of perhaps a once-in-a-century international financial crisis, to meet the challenges head-on and build on past achievement, to constantly advance the EU-China relationship is a constant requirement of our times and the political mission of leaders of the two sides," he added.
Beijing has faced a growing clamour led by the United States and Europe to revalue upwards a currency the West says is grossly "undervalued" to promote cheap China exports. Gripes by business leaders over lack of access to China's market and skewed trade patterns are likely to add to the grievances piling up against Beijing.
The International Monetary Fund earlier on Wednesday said China needed a stronger currency to boost domestic consumption and lower its reliance on exports.