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China, EU should maintain open attitude, reject protectionism -Chinese state media

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Malta's Minister of Foreign Affairs Carmelo Abela at Diaoyutai State Guesthous in Beijing

BEIJING (Reuters) - China and the European Union (EU) should continue to maintain an "open attitude" and "reject protectionism", Chinese state media said on Monday, citing Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

State-backed Xinhua quoted Wang as saying that China has consistently supported the EU's strategic independence and European integration and that both sides should maintain an "open attitude, firmly support free trade, reject protectionism, and achieve the positive effects of China-EU cooperation".

"China-EU cooperation outweighs differences and the two sides are partners instead of rivals," Wang was quoted as saying.

Wang's remarks come days after the European Commission launched an investigation last week into whether to impose punitive tariffs to protect EU automakers against Chinese electric vehicle imports it says are benefiting from excessive state subsidies.

The remarks were made during Wang's meeting with his Malta counterpart Ian Borg on Saturday, at which China and Malta have agreed to work together to promote China-European Union cooperation, Xinhua said.

China hopes Malta would continue to play a positive role in development of China-EU relations, Wang said.

(Reporting by Liz Lee and Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Jamie Freed and Michael Perry)