Xi Jinping

Ahead of fractious G20, Germany and China pledge new cooperation

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 12:08am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 12:08am

Ties between China and Germany are about to enter a new phase, the Chinese president said after meeting Germany’s chancellor ahead of a G20 summit that is expected to highlight their differences with the United States on a host of issues.

“Chinese-German relations are now about to have a new start where we need new breakthroughs,” said Xi Jinping at a news conference with Angela Merkel on Wednesday, adding that he hoped to make a “new blueprint, set our sights on new goals and plan new routes” for cooperation during his visit to Germany.

The two countries, which are at odds with US President Donald Trump on climate policy, pledged to work more closely together on trade and aerospace, to progress towards a free-trade agreement and also cooperate on development in Africa and in Afghanistan.

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It came as Beijing said it would allow liver cancer experts from Germany, the US and other countries to join a medical team treating imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Neither Merkel nor Xi mentioned Liu in their statements and they took no questions. Merkel did mention human rights in general terms, saying they discussed the importance of a “strong civil society” and that the two countries “must continue intensively” their existing dialogue on human rights.

She also called for broader registration of research organisations under Chinese laws on non-governmental organisations.

Merkel said she made clear Germany wanted to be treated equally in business and granted market access – “that is very ­important for our companies”.

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Xi’s visit comes as China promotes its belt and road trade plan, as Beijing looks for global stature to match its economic success. Merkel said Germany had taken a positive view of the initiative. She said “we would gladly participate in such projects, and hope for a transparent tendering process”.

The leaders were also due to go to the zoo to see pandas Meng Meng and Jiao Qing, who arrived on June 24.

Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and Associated Press