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Merkel's China visit provides fresh chance to boost ties, discuss eurozone crisis

By Yu Zhixiao (Global Times)

16:47, February 02, 2012

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ongoing China trip from Thursday to Friday serves as a new opportunity for both sides to further promote their comprehensive cooperation and talk about the chronic European debt crisis.

China is the first country that Merkel visits this year outside Europe, while she is the first foreign leader China receives after the traditional Chinese Spring Festival on Jan. 23.

Amid her tight schedule, Merkel will fly to south China's booming coastal Guangdong province to visit local German companies and attend an economic forum attended by entrepreneurs from both countries.

She is also scheduled to deliver a key address on "finance and currency issues" to the Beijing-based thinktank Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, her spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

She is also expected to discuss with Chinese leaders the current financial situation in Europe and the world economic situation. The fermenting eurozone crisis is likely to be high on her agenda.

Her visit takes place in a year when both countries are set to commemorate the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic ties and Germany will host the Chinese Culture Year to promote mutual understanding and exchanges in the cultural sphere..

Germany, Europe's largest economy, is China's biggest trade partner in the EU. Despite the severe eurozone crisis, bilateral trade hit about 170 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, with the two countries agreeing to work together to raise the figure to 280 billion dollars by the year 2015.

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