Angela Merkel in China

By Zhao Jinglun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 9, 2014
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with a chef when she visited a restaurant during her visit to Chengdu, China.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in China for her seventh visit since 2005. The former researcher in physical chemistry is also a soccer fan. She was at the World Cup opening in Brazil, so Chinese Premier Li Keqiang greeted her by wishing the German soccer team success in the world championship.

Like the ROK's Park Geun-hye, another Iron Lady, Merkel also wears trousers and doesn't put on makeup. But Merkel is not in Beijing to talk about football. Germany is the linchpin of the EU. Its economy is way ahead of the other EU members. So it is fitting that Germany and China should lift their comprehensive strategic partnership to a new high.

Last year, the European giant sold China goods worth 67 billion euros (US$91 billion), an amount second only to the United States; and imported goods from China worth 73 billion euros ($99 billion).

This time, Merkel came with a huge business delegation in tow, including executives from Siemens, Volkswagen, Airbus, Lufthansa and Deutsche Bank. She first arrived in Chengdu, southwest China, where she shopped at a local market and learnt to prepare some typical Sichuan dishes. She also visited a FAW-FW factory, signaling that Germany is interested in helping develop China's west and southwest.

In talks in Beijing, the two countries agreed to strengthen exchanges in the financial sector. China will grant Germany an 80 billion yuan (US$12.9 billion) quota under the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors plan to accelerate the internationalization of the Chinese currency, and reinforce Frankfurt's status as a yuan clearing center in Europe.

The two sides also agreed to upgrade their longstanding cooperation in manufacturing and signed a series of deals on automobiles, aviation and communications. Notably, China placed an order for 125 Airbus helicopters.

In his meeting with Chancellor Merkel, President Xi proposed joint efforts to improve global economic governance and the international system to promote world peace, stability and prosperity.

He also suggested that the two sides increase cultural and people-to-people exchanges by working together on textbooks, art and literature. Personally I look forward to hearing German artists performing works of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms in China.

During Merkel's China visit, it was revealed that an employee of Germany's Foreign Intelligence Service (BND) was arrested for allegedly selling 218 classified documents to a U.S. intelligence service. Revelations of U.S. tapping the chancellor's phone sparked anger in Berlin. Merkel called it a "very serious case" if reports proved to be correct.

In her speech delivered at Tsinghua University, Merkel said that since Germany and China have established a comprehensive strategic partnership, they can cooperate in sustainable growth and that Tsinghua, as a free, innovative and open institution, can make contributions to China's future growth.

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