China and Germany should set up a cooperative mechanism, enhance consultations on major international issues and further strengthen trade and technological exchanges, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
Wen made the remark on Tuesday in an interview with Dieter Stolte, publisher of Die Welt on the eve of his imminent visit to five European nations including Germany, which starts from May 2.
Wen said the Chinese people are quite familiar with Germany, which is home to lots of world-renowned thinkers, men of letters, philosophers and artists. Among the elite is Karl Marx, whose thoughts have exerted a profound influence on China's revolution and economic construction.
Gottfried Leibnitz, forerunner of German classic philosophy, once spoke highly of China's Confucian thought, thinking they once influenced the Enlightenment Movement in the18th century in Germany, Wen said.
Wen said his visit to Germany is aimed to advance trade, economic and technological exchanges, and the two countries are expected to further increase cooperation in this regard.
Recalling his stopover in Frankfurt from his visit to Nordic nations in 1988, Wen said the Sino-German friendship is at a sincere, active and fruitful stage. He also pledged to set up a development goal for Sino-German relations, saying that mutual trust constitutes the foundation of bilateral relations.
The trade volume between China and Germany has amounted to US$41.8 billion, one-third of the total of China-Europe trade volume, said Wen, and "both China-German and China-Europe trade are expected to double by 2010".
The two countries are supposed to conduct close cooperation in high-tech, and cooperation among medium and small-sized enterprises, said Wen. Besides, it is important to create channels for settling trade disputes between the two countries, and the two sides should address each other's concerns, said Wen.
China deems Germany the most important trade partner of Europe, and there are 7,000 Chinese enterprises that invest across the globe and 600 of them are in Germany, which indicates that the Chinese enterprises attach great importance to Germany, said Wen.
China will offer support to those enterprises that invest in Germany in loan, insurance, foreign exchange, finance and investment, he said. The Chinese investment in Germany, however, is far less than the German investment in China since China has just started its business in this respect.
The German investment projects in China have exceeded 3,500 with an actual total investment nears US$ 10 billion, said Wen. Some German firms have won the reputation for their fine quality and efficiency, such as Volkswagen, Siemens and Daimler-Chrysler.
Wen said the Chinese enterprises can make progress and learn modern management by conducting cooperation with the German partners. Germany is China's closest European partner in technology transfer, Wen added.
In response to a question on Sino-Europe relations, Wen said China takes Sino-EU relations as a crucial part of China's diplomatic strategy, and the two sides fixed on a comprehensive strategic partnership last year.
As for the EU's arms embargo issue, Wen expressed his hope that the EU lift the embargo on China at an early date while giving China market economy status. The arms embargo is the outcome of the "cold war", which does not fit into the times, said Wen.
"I am optimistic that Europe will lift its arms embargo on China and admit our market economy status," he said.
On the Iraqi issue, Wen said China is deeply concerned with the current situation in Iraq and sincerely feels sympathetic to the Iraqi people. China and Europe have the same or similar stance on the issue of Iraq's reconstruction, and the United Nations should play a dominant role in the process and every country should take part in it, Wen said.
China is willing to join and play its due role in Iraq's reconstruction process, Wen said. It is easy to win a war, but much more difficult to win peace, Wen added.
Deeply worried about the increasing tension between Palestine and Israel, Wen said China hopes the disputes would be resolved through political negotiation and the two sides could return to the path of "land for peace", Wen said. "And relevant UN resolutions must be implemented."
Wen said China supports the road map in the Middle East and stands firmly opposed to violent retaliation.
When asked to comment on how to cool down the economy and how to realize balanced growth, Wen said the Chinese economy is in a generally good situation, with fast growth, increasing corporate profits, improving agricultural production, expanding foreign trade volume, surging fiscal revenue and individual incomes.
In order to curb excessive fixed asset construction that drove up capital good prices and strained supply of coal, electricity, oil and transportation, the Chinese government will step up powerful and effective macro economic control, together with the necessary administrative methods.
China will control the loan and land supply, and will push forward reform in the structural and systematic causes of the current economic problems, Wen said.
On the issues concerning social balance, China's new leadership has begun to resolve the problems of coordination between urban and rural development, development between different regions, economic growth and social progress, domestic construction and external works, and the harmonious development between the humanity and the nature, Wen said.
When asked to comment on German Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's promise to support selling nuclear fuel in Hanau to China, Premier Wen said that the cooperation between China and Germany in this field is only for the sake of peaceful utilization of nuclear energy, with equality and mutual benefits.
(Xinhua News Agency April 30, 2004)