Protested at home, Ukraine president visits China

BEIJING (AP) — Ukraine's embattled president arrived in China for an official visit on Wednesday while his opponents conduct massive protests at home demanding his resignation.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said President Viktor Yanukovych arrived in the western city of Xi'an early in the morning for a previously planned three-day visit. The report said he was due to sign economic agreements, but gave no details.

After a parliamentary no-confidence vote failed Tuesday, Ukrainian protest leaders have vowed to continue the street demonstrations that have involved as many as 300,000 people. The opposition is fueled by Yanukovych's shelving of a long-anticipated agreement to deepen political and economic ties with the European Union and the violent tactics police have used against protesters. Yanukovych has sought to quell public anger by moving to renew talks with Brussels.

China's authoritarian communist leaders consider such popular movements anathema, although they preach a strict policy of not intervening in other country's affairs. Still, Chinese economic support could bolster Yanukovych's position amid Ukraine's economic woes.

Beijing has been a customer for Ukrainian arms makers and is seeking agreements to harness the country's rich agricultural sector as a source of food for its growing population, already at 1.36 billion people.

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