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Brown regrets shoe-throwing incident
By Zhang Haizhou and Ma Zhenhuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-02-06 07:46

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has expressed "regret" over the shoe-throwing incident that interrupted Premier Wen Jiabao's speech at Cambridge University on Monday, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

In a letter to Wen on Wednesday, Brown said it was "a matter of regret" that his speech was disrupted, ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

According to Jiang, Brown said "Wen's speech at Cambridge was widely welcomed and very impressive". Highlighting the importance of Sino-British ties, Brown said "important results" had been achieved during Wen's visit to Europe.

Cambridge University Vice-Chancellor Allison Richard has "sincerely apologized" for the unhappy episode, Jiang said. "Richard said Cambridge is strongly opposed violence, which is against its values."

The protester who threw the shoe at Wen has been charged "with a public order offence", a police spokeswoman said on Tuesday. "The 27-year-old man has been charged with Section 4 of the Public Order Act and will appear in Cambridge magistrates court on February 10."

A spokesman for the university said yesterday that Wen's speech drew "tremendous applause" despite the man's "stupid action".

EU ambassador to China Serge Abou, who accompanied Wen on his EU tour, said the visit was very successful and had strengthened Sino-EU strategic partnership.

Abou was speaking at a press conference held to felicitate the China European International Business School after the Financial Times ranked it No 8 in its annual MBA programs list.

During Wen's visit, China signed 38 contracts worth 15 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) with EU member countries. "What I can say is that we have the impression in Europe that the monetary policy of China is more focused on the dollar than on the euro and other currencies China should pay more attention to our (EU) currency because we are its top trading partner."

(China Daily 02/06/2009 page2)