China-Germany relations stable
Updated: 2013-09-23 07:16
By Zhouwa (China Daily)
Voters wear Black Forest traditional clothes and the Bollenhut hats as they queue to cast their ballots at a polling station on Sunday in Hornberg-Reichenbach, south-western Germany, the day of the German general elections. Patrick Seeger / DPA via Agence France-Presse
As German voters went to the polls on Sunday to elect their next government, Chinese analysts said that, regardless of the outcome, China and Germany would continue to enjoy favorable ties that would benefit the two sides in the long run.
Chancellor Angela Merkel looked likely to land a third four-year term, but she risked being forced into an awkward coalition with her leftist rivals following a surge in support for a new anti-euro party.
"Germany's China policy shows cross-party stability," said Li Lezeng, a professor of German studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, adding that a favorable Beijing-Berlin relationship is certain to continue under the new German government.
"Both the coalition of the Christian Democratic Union with the Christian Social Union, led by Angela Merkel, and the main opposition, the Social Democratic Party, have a China-friendly policy, which is based on a long-term diplomatic partnership with China," he said.
Europe is also paying close attention to Germany's first national election since the eruption of the eurozone debt crisis in 2009. Some hope Merkel will take a softer stance on struggling euro states such as Greece if she is pushed into a so-called grand coalition with the SPD.
But major policy shifts seem unlikely because the center-left SPD, whose campaign stalled after a gaffe-prone start by its lead candidate Peer Steinbrueck, agrees with the thrust of Merkel's approach even as it accuses her of weak leadership.
No matter which party dominates the new German government, Berlin will implement a practical China policy, which advocates favorable relations with China, said former Chinese ambassador to Germany Mei Zhaorong.
"To a large extent, the German economy depends on the Chinese market", Mei said. "Germany's strong economy amid the sluggish economies of other European countries is largely due to the Chinese market."
Good China-German ties have brought benefits to both countries, he added.
Germany is China's largest trading partner in Europe, while China is Germany's largest trading partner in the Asia-Pacific region.
The two-way trade volume reached an unprecedented $161.13 billion in 2012, making up 29.5 percent of China-EU trade.
Statistics show that there are more than 7,900 approved projects of German investment in China, the volume of which stands at more than $20 billion.
The trade and investment figures show a relationship of mutual dependence between the Chinese and German economies, said Mei.
China's rapid strides toward industrialization, informatization, urbanization and agricultural modernization, together with its unswerving commitment to an opening-up policy, offers German enterprises golden opportunities and will thus further strengthen bilateral economic ties, Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary published on Sunday.
The most recent opinion polls showed support for Merkel's conservative bloc - her CDU and the CSU - at around 39 percent, about 13 points ahead of the SPD, the second-biggest party.
That certainly guarantees that Merkel, whose staunch defense of German interests during the crisis has sent her approval ratings soaring over 60 percent, will stay on as chancellor.
"I voted for the CDU because they're a serious party and in the last eight years they've really moved the country forward," said policeman Jochen Anders, 58, after casting his ballot in Berlin.
"They have reduced our debts significantly, brought us through the eurozone and financial crises successfully and the economy has recovered," he said.
Frequent exchanges of high-level visits between China and Germany have deepened trust, unlocked enormous potential for economic cooperation and gathered great momentum for the development of the China-Germany partnership, said Xinhua.
"China's development cannot proceed without Germany either, because as an industrialized Western country, it has enormous leading know-how and valuable experience of development, which China needs," Mei said.