China, Germany join hands to drive growth

Updated: 2014-07-07 11:33

By ZHANG YUNBI (China Daily)

China, Germany join hands to drive growth

China's Premier Li Keqiang (R) talks to Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel during a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, July 6, 2014. [Photo by Xu Jingxing/Asianewsphoto]

Merkel's visit opens opportunities for investment, economic development

Premier Li Keqiang welcomed visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday and said the China-German relationship is "breaking ground on a high level".

Observers said what is behind Merkel's visit is efforts by the world-leading exporters to address their domestic economic challenges and seek economic growth from cutting-edge sectors.

Before flying to Beijing on Sunday evening, Merkel spent part of the day in China's southwestern city of Chengdu as the first stop of her China tour.

Cui Hongjian, director of the Department for European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said the priority of Merkel's trip is to seek stronger support and weather the storms of the domestic economy.

Berlin is "fighting to maintain domestic economic growth", while Beijing is faced with declining external confidence, Cui said.

Premier Li expected the two sides to "strengthen bilateral communication and coordination in major international and regional affairs".

Beijing considers improving people's livelihood a top priority and China's development requires a peaceful environment, he told Merkel.

"I am looking forward to the official meeting tomorrow with the chancellor to promote bilateral political mutual trust, and deepen beneficial cooperation in fields including economy and trade, finance, sustainable growth and culture," Li said.

Merkel said stronger bilateral cooperation benefits both sides and the world, and Berlin is willing to seek closer contact with Beijing on international issues to jointly ensure world peace and development.

Germany is China's largest trading partner in Europe, while China is Germany's biggest in the Asia-Pacific region. Two-way trade stood at $161.6 billion last year, accounting for nearly one-third of the trade between China and the European Union.

The two countries are expected to "unveil a range of detailed cooperative programs" during the visit to bring about pledges in financial and eco-friendly sectors, Cui said.

Before her trip ends on Tuesday, Merkel will meet with President Xi Jinping and top legislator Zhang Dejiang.

As the Chinese president paid an official visit to Germany in late March, observers were amazed to find that the upcoming meeting between the leaders was made within four months.

Mei Zhaorong, former Chinese ambassador to Germany, said China and Germany are joining hands in seeking free global trade and fighting trade protectionism, although there are also doubts about the good ties.

"There have been some questioning voices within the European Union because the China-German relationship is growing fast. ... Some of them are trying to alienate the two sides. There is jealousy behind it," Mei said.

The in-depth and comprehensive relationship is presenting a good example and a good lead for the China-EU relationship, Mei added.

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