German leader's visit signals ties on upswing

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With Beijing confirming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's official visit to China next week, the two countries are embracing another opportunity to boost collaboration and offset impacts from geopolitical conflict and economic volatility around the world, observers said.

At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang, Scholz "will pay an official visit to China on Nov 4", Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin announced on Friday.

Scholz becomes the first Western country leader to have announced an official visit to China following the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Despite the impact of COVID-19, bilateral trade between Beijing and Berlin has maintained strong growth momentum over the past two years, hitting record highs. Last year, total two-way trade exceeded 240 billion euros ($239 billion), and China has been Germany's largest trading partner for six consecutive years.

Faced with the impact of the Ukraine crisis, "the German economy will not sit idly by, and expanding international industrial cooperation — including teamwork with China — becomes a natural choice", said Tian Dewen, deputy director of the Institute of Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The future of China-Germany cooperation will exert influence on the performance of the new German administration, Tian added.

Beijing recently rebuked criticism against the plan by Chinese shipping giant COSCO to buy a 24.9 percent stake in Hamburg's container terminal.

"Cooperation benefits both sides. We hope relevant parties will view China-Germany practical cooperation in a rational light and stop groundless hype," Wang, the spokesman, told reporters on Wednesday.

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