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Chinese premier's Germany tour to enhance bilateral partnership, China-EU ties


11:21, May 25, 2013

BERLIN, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is slated to start an official visit to Germany late Saturday, the last leg of his first overseas trip since taking office in March.

Li will meet with German President Joachim Gauck and hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel on further cementing China's relationship with Germany and Europe at large.

The premier will also deliver a speech at a business luncheon and have extensive contact with people from Germany's political and business communities.

Li and Merkel will officially launch "the year of languages" between China and Germany. The initiative is meant to promote the study of each other country's language.

Officials and scholars say that Li's visit will enhance the bilateral strategic partnership between Beijing and Berlin and help boost the cooperation between China and Europe as a whole.


"It is an objective fact that the China-Germany relationship has been in the vanguard of the ties between China and Europe in many aspects," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao said at a recent news briefing on Li's visit.

Some two months ago, Li and Merkel held a telephone conversation during which the chancellor congratulated -- as the first foreign leader -- Li on his taking over the premiership. The two leaders agreed during their talk to work on closer ties and cooperation.

Merkel said China's development is essential to both Germany and the world, and Germany highly values its relationship with China.

Germany, as China's friend and partner, hopes to maintain high-level contact with China, expand pragmatic cooperation and facilitate common development, Merkel said.

The political dialogue between Germany and China has reached "an unprecedented level" through such mechanisms as intergovernmental consultations, Michael Schaeffer, the German ambassador to Beijing, recently told Xinhua.

The intergovernmental consultations, launched two years ago, cover a wide range of issues of common concern. The effort made Germany the first European Union (EU) nation to establish a top-level consultation mechanism with China.

Merkel went to Beijing in August 2012 and co-chaired the second round of the Chinese-German intergovernmental consultations with then Premier Wen Jiabao. Eight ministers and five vice ministers from China, and seven ministers and two state secretaries from Germany attended the consultations.

The trip was Merkel's sixth to China since she took office in 2005. Li also met with the chancellor in Beijing.

"Both Chinese and Germany statesmen attach great importance to the bilateral relationship with a strategic vision, which is a precondition for the smooth development of the China-Germany ties," said Feng Zhongping, vice president of the Chinese Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

"High-level visits can play an irreplaceable role in boosting practical cooperation in various fields between the two countries," Song said, adding that Li's visit to Germany will help build sound working and personal relationships.

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