EU, China agree to regular defense, security talks

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BEIJING (AP) — The European Union and China say they will begin to hold regular talks on defense and security and are looking at boosting their cooperation on anti-piracy missions off the coast of Somalia.

The agreement was made Tuesday during the third session of the EU-China Strategic Dialogue in Beijing, a two-day forum meant to minimize disputes and deepen ties between China and its biggest trading partner.

EU efforts to grapple with its debt crisis were also on the agenda of the two-day talks that kicked off Monday.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement Tuesday that her Chinese counterpart, Dai Bingguo, noted Europe's "firm determination" in dealing with the debt problem.

China's stake in Europe's economic health has increased as Chinese companies step up investment there.

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