In recent weeks, the question of whether China can save Europe has often been asked, amid the continuing crisis in the euro zone and discussion over whether Beijing would contribute to the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF).
The visit to Beijing late last month of Klaus Regling, the EFSF's chief executive, was often presented in the media as a humbled Europe going to China with a begging bowl asking for help.
Sebastian Wood, the British ambassador to China, says a more pertinent question than whether China can save Europe is whether it is China's interests to support the euro zone.
"In a sense, the answer is obvious. The EU is China's largest single export market. It's crucial to the global economy. The health of the euro zone is therefore extremely important for China's health, just as it is for the health of the UK," he says.
While China has indicated its reluctance to put some of its vast savings into the European bailout fund, perhaps unsurprisingly given the potential for a backlash from its own citizens, there are nonetheless hopes that the country could still help stimulate growth in Europe through investments.
Mr Wood believes there are investments China can make that are in its own interests, and which will in turn help to promote growth in some of the struggling parts of Europe. China can help Europe out, but it does not need to be an act of charity.
"There are likely to be good investment propositions, investments for which China can get good returns," says Mr Wood.
"For China, the problem is too much money and not enough ways to spend it. China needs urgently to find a way of diversifying its investment pattern."
In the present financial circumstances, Mr Wood says there are many high-quality companies in Europe short of capital.
"By investing in companies like that, China can develop the technology of their own enterprises as well as providing jobs in Europe," he said.
In manufacturing investments will give Chinese interests access to markets. Investments in infrastructure are likely to result in high long-term returns, and these are likely to be more stable than equivalent returns in developing countries.
"By investing in European infrastructure, China can help stimulate European economies in the short term and provide European companies greater capacity for growth in the medium and long term," says Mr Wood.
This all ties in with Mr Wood's view that the issue should not be seen as a cry for help from Europe, but instead an opportunity for China to make "productive investments on their own merits".
The interests of both China and Europe would also be served, Mr Wood says, by China opening its own markets to European goods and services.
"We need to rebalance global growth to a more sustainable model. We need high-savings countries to consume more and high-consumption countries to save more," he says.
More balanced growth would help convince markets that global growth was embarked on a more sustainable path.
"It would help China on its domestic priorities. For example, by liberalising inward investment and allowing greater foreign participation in government procurement, China would give leading-edge companies an incentive to bring their technology to China," says Mr Wood.
"That would help China develop its technical expertise and move up the value chain."
More foreign participation in China's service sector would also be of benefit to the world's most populous nation, he says, boosting employment and helping the country move away from its capital-intensive growth model.
Such European business success in the Chinese market would also help support growth and jobs in Europe, says Mr Wood.
The overall message, he says, is there are good investments China can make in Europe, and moves it can make in terms of access to its own market that are in China's interests and that will, at the same time, support recovery in Europe.
"The investment opportunity in Europe is a real and present opportunity," Mr Wood says.