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Merkel Has Climate Change on Agenda
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Beijing late last night on her second official visit to China, which is partly aimed at emphasizing her commitment to fighting climate change on a global scale.

Merkel is scheduled to meet with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao today to discuss the possibilities of closer cooperation on the environment and energy efficiency, green technology and innovation.

Before leaving for China, she said the two countries' governments have continued to enhance communication and consultation on various issues.

Michael Schaefer, the newly appointed German ambassador to Beijing, said Merkel's second visit to China during her less than two years in office, reflects the importance the leadership of the two countries attach to bilateral cooperation.

Ma Canrong, China's ambassador to Germany, corroborated Schaefer, and said frequent high-level exchanges will bolster mutual trust and take the already positive bilateral ties to a new level.

Merkel's trip comes just three months after German President Horst Kohler's first visit to China in May.

"With a common interest and similar opinions on broad international issues, the two influential countries are expected to contribute more to the world peace and stability," Ma said.

Trade cooperation

A delegation comprising 25 business leaders will accompany Merkel to China, with commercial deals expected to be inked in a wide range of sectors today.

Merkel and Premier Wen will meet with businesspersons from the two countries this morning, and attend the Sino-German industries forum in the afternoon.

China is the third largest exporter to Germany, with its total supplies last year reaching 49 billion euro ($66.42 billion).

Ambassador Ma said bilateral trade is healthy and balanced, with China enjoying a favorable balance of trade in merchandise and Germany having a trade surplus in the services sector.

The Chinese government is exploring the possibility of holding a "German products fair" in the country to increase imports, especially high value-added hi-tech German products, Ma said. The exercise is also expected to deepen cooperation in environmentally friendly technologies and renewable energy.

China's embassy figures show that 5,338 German projects with a total investment of $13.4 billion were set up in China by the end of last year.

Cultural ties

Another priority for Merkel is to inaugurate a three-year program, "Germany and China - Moving Ahead Together". The program will showcase German artistic and cultural creations in six major provincial hubs, including Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

Wolfgang Rohr, head of Germany-China Task Force, said it would be the largest and longest program to showcase Germany in a foreign country.

"By introducing German culture, science, economy and lifestyle, the program aims to present a modern, creative and future-oriented Germany, the 'Land of Ideas', to audiences across China," Rohr said.

Nanjing, home to many German enterprises, will be the first city to experience a variety of art, music and theatre performances from Germany, and Merkel will launch the program by inaugurating a classical ballet, Romeo and Julie, performed jointly by the Stuttgart Ballet and the National Ballet of China.

(China Daily August 27, 2007)

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