China, Germany seek greater cooperation
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for greater cooperation between China and Germany in a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Analysts say Scholz’s one-day visit, the first by any G7 leader to China since the pandemic began, will test the waters between China and the West after years of mounting tensions.
The first face-to-face meeting between both leaders since Scholz took office was held in the Great Hall of the People in the heart of Beijing.
Xi called for greater cooperation between both countries for the sake of world peace.
“At present, the international situation is complex and volatile,” Xi was quoted as saying.
“As large and influential countries, in times of change and turmoil China and Germany should work together all the more, to make more contributions to world peace and development,” Xi said.
Scholz told Xi that it was good both leaders were meeting in person during tense times and said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was creating problems for the rules-based global order.
Scholz also said that the two will discuss issues related to Europe-China relations, the fight against climate change and global hunger, and how to develop China-Germany economic ties, as well as topics where both countries had different perspectives.
Scholz and a delegation of German business leaders flying with him were administered COVID-19 tests upon landing in Beijing on Friday morning, with Chinese medical staff donning hazmat suits going into the plane to conduct the tests.
China’s strict zero-COVID policy and growing tensions with the West have made it unfeasible for leaders of major western powers to visit China, while Xi only resumed foreign trips in September.
Since the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the ruling Communist Party last month, several foreign leaders have visited China and been given exemptions to the strict COVID curbs.
Scholz’s visit is likely a welcome development for the Chinese leadership, who will be looking to shore up relations with the outside world.
Amid historic inflation and a looming recession in Germany, Scholz will be looking to emphasize the need for continued cooperation with China
Scholz, who is also expected to meet outgoing Premier Li Keqiang, pledged earlier this week to raise issues such as human rights, Taiwan and the difficulties German companies face accessing the Chinese market, during his meetings in Beijing, according to government sources.