Xi's visit to shape future ties with Germany: envoy

Updated: 2014-03-28 06:57

By Zhang Chunyan in Berlin (China Daily)

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President Xi Jinping's visit to Germany will mold how relations between China and Germany develop in the coming years, said China's Ambassador to Germany Shi Mingde.

"The trip will foster mutual understanding and trust between the two countries' leaders and further deepen cooperation," he said.

Xi will visit Germany on Friday and Saturday before traveling to Belgium. He will meet with German President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel as well business leaders from both countries. Commercial agreements are expected to be signed during the visit.

"This is Xi's first trip to Germany since taking office, and it demonstrates the great importance that the Chinese leadership attaches to advancing relations with Germany and Europe," Shi said.

In recent years, leaders from both nations have met frequently. In 2010, Beijing and Berlin upgraded their relationship to a "comprehensive strategic partnership".

"China and Germany share many agreements and common interests in terms of responding to international challenges and resolving major regional and global issues," Shi said.

China, the world's second-largest economy, and Germany, the fourth-largest, have also been working together to address the global financial recession, and this has deepened their economic and trade interdependence.

Xi's visit to shape future ties with Germany: envoy

China is Germany's largest trading partner in Asia; Germany is China's largest partner in Europe. Sino-German trade volume - equal to the combined China-UK, China-France and China-Italy trade volume - accounts for nearly a third of total trade between China and Europe.

Germany is Europe's largest investor in China. Investment grew by 43 percent, or $2.08 billion last year.

Chinese investment in Germany last year totaled $830 million. It was a 29 percent jump from 2012 totals, Shi said.

"China is undergoing modernization, which embraces industrialization, innovation, urbanization and agricultural transformations. These areas can be further tapped for new cooperation," Shi said.

Beijing and Berlin have also established increasingly frequent cultural and educational exchanges, Shi said.

More than 30,000 Chinese students are studying in Germany and about 5,400 German students are studying in China. Sixty-nine provinces, states and cities in China and Germany have established friendly relations. Every week, more than 60 direct flights fly between the two countries.

Looking to the future, Shi said, "Both sides can build an updated version of China-Germany cooperation."

Many analysts from both countries held similar views.

"Sino-German relations are in the historical period. How they consolidate and expand their collaboration will be an important matter for the countries in the future," said Gu Junli, a German studies researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"Germany also plays a leading role in China's relationship with Europe," Gu said.

Cord Eberspaecher, director of the Confucius Institute Dusseldorf, said Xi's visit comes at an important time.

"Good and close relations between China and Germany are more important than ever. Economically, both sides have profited from the growing exchange and that will continue in the future."