China-Germany relations warm in 2010: experts

08:16, January 07, 2011      

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China-Germany relations warmed notably in 2010, benefiting both countries and exerting a positive influence on the international stage, according to experts from the two countries.

"In 2010, the China-Germany relationship has significantly improved," Thomas Heberer, professor of political science and East Asian studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

"The German government discerned that the German economy displayed high rates of growth due to China's increased imports, particularly in the automobile, chemistry and machinery equipment sector," he said, "This was a major reason for Germany's rapid recovery from the global financial crisis."

He said German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized the "completely new level" and "new stage" of China-Germany relations during her visit to China in July.

Heberer also said both countries "undoubtedly" had a different set of values in social and political affairs, but "Germany should rather conceive China as a partner rather than an adversary."

"The only path to overcome such differences is that both sides focus on shared interests and common fields of cooperation, such as searching for solutions regarding climate change, international security issues, efficient use of resources, etc," the professor said.

"There is a strong wish of the German side to sharpen China's awareness in terms of global responsibility and to collaborate with China in finding sustainable solutions for pressing questions of our time. Hopefully, this will be the feature of China-Germany cooperation in 2011," he said.

Gu Xuewu, director of the Center for Global Studies at the University of Bonn, said both China and Germany showed strong a will to deepen strategic cooperation in 2010.

He said the two countries' political and economic cooperation had exerted global influence on curbing trade protectionism.

"The two countries, the world's top two exporters, have become the backbone of global free trade," Gu said, adding that "China-Germany relations have presented a worldwide impact and gone beyond the scope of bilateral level, which is indeed a new trend."

Mei Zhaorong, a former Chinese ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany and now chief of the World Development Institute of Research Center of China's State Council, said China-Germany ties did run into difficulty a few years ago, but had experienced "a positive, smooth development" in past two years, especially in 2010.

"The huge Chinese market played an active role in Germany's recovery from financial crisis," he said, "As two major countries with trade surpluses, China and Germany share common interests and similar views on reforming the global economic mechanism."

Mei said there was growing recognition in Germany that it would be difficult to resolve major international affairs, particularly issues of world economic governance, without China's participation.

"Of course, the two countries have differences, especially in ideology," the Chinese senior diplomat said.

"Media and think tanks of the two sides should intensify their exchanges to promote mutual understanding and reduce misjudgment and prejudice. Moreover, such exchanges should be run through the various fields and levels," he said.

By Han Mo, Zheng Qihang, Xinhua
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