The Chancellor in China

China is an important player in the world, says Chancellor

At the end of her visit to China, Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed, "It is good and it is the right thing to do to visit China once a year, because things are developing so quickly here." Political talks centred on the international situation and China’s role in the global economy.

Chancellor Angela Merkel with Chinese children
Children accompany the Chancellor as she makes her way to the Bergedorf Round Table in China Photo Bundesregierung/Denzel

In many areas of foreign and security policy, the People’s Republic of China plays a pivotal role, said Chancellor Angela Merkel in Hefei at the end of her eighth visit to China. "I can feel how China is playing an intensive part in efforts to resolve international conflicts," said Angela Merkel.

Role of international mediator

China has demonstrated its important role, not only in the negotiations that led to an agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme, she reported. This has also been clear in its foreign policy engagement, including the way it has dealt with North Korea’s nuclear programme, said the Chancellor in Beijing, where she was attending the Bergedorf Round Table. China was instrumental in initiating the six-party talks several years ago. "Without China it will not be possible to resume these talks," stressed the Chancellor.

The same applies to China’s role as a mediator in Afghanistan. "China’s good contacts to both Pakistan and Afghanistan can perhaps help bring about reconciliation."

With a view to the territorial dispute in the South and East China Sea, Angela Merkel stressed, "We hope, above all, that the maritime trading routes remain free and safe, which is, of course, important throughout the region, and beyond."

Chinese engagement for Syria

The Chancellor praised the support of the Chinese government in attempts to identify a solution to the conflict in Syria. Agreement exists with the Chinese side, she said, that a solution can only be achieved within the scope of a political and diplomatic process. "There is a remarkable level of agreement on the fact that all major actors must be involved; naturally including Russia, the USA, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other local actors," said Angela Merkel clearly.

Like Germany, China is counting on the international organisation system when it comes to coping with refugee crises. These organisations must then be strengthened. "If we see that the World Food Programme, then UN Refugee Agency UNHCR and other important UN organisations are chronically under-funded, this is very bad news," underlined the Chancellor.

Reliable partner in the euro crisis

Chancellor Angela Merkel also specifically praised China’s role in the euro crisis. "If China had got out at that point, and stopped purchasing euro-denominated investments, we would have seen an entirely different development in the world," she said.

Cooperation between universities

At an official ceremony at the University of Hefei, the Chancellor welcomed the launch of a pilot cooperation project with German universities. "When I see all these motivated young people, I am quite sure that it was a good idea to foster the Sino-German youth and student exchange," said Angela Merkel.

Before leaving Beijing an agreement was signed on the Sino-German Year of Youth and Student Exchange, which is to be held in 2016.

Cooperation in the field of inclusion

At the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) workshop "Break Barriers for Inclusive Development" in Beijing, the Chancellor stressed the need to link market mechanisms with social compensation for people with disabilities. This also includes human values and solidarity. In this context she welcomed the opportunity to cooperate with the Chinese association for people with disabilities.

Business agreements and declarations of intent

In the presence of the Chancellor and the Prime Minister, representatives of the business delegation accompanying the Chancellor and their Chinese partners signed agreements worth a total of 18.6 billion euros on Thursday. They included a new joint venture between the Deutsche Börse, the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the China Financial Futures Exchange. The European aeronautical company Airbus signed an agreement to supply the Chinese side with a total of 130 A330 and A320 aircraft worth 15.4 billion euros. The car manufacturer Volkswagen and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China also agreed to cooperate closely.

Over and above these, a number of declarations of intent were signed. The German and Chinese sides, for instance agreed to launch a project with the DFB (German Football Association), to train youth trainers at 20,000 Chinese lower secondary schools and to establish football schools.

Six new visa centres are to be opened across China so that visa formalities for Chinese citizens and businesses can be processed more rapidly. "But that is only one example of how we aim to establish closer contacts between our peoples," said the Chancellor.

Expanding economic cooperation

At the meeting of the Chinese-German Economic Advisory Committee (DCBWA) in Hefei, the Chancellor said that the German government supports the wish of the Chinese side to obtain EU market economy status. Before this can happen, however, certain steps must be taken in China, particularly in the field of procurement law

With a view to cooperation in the financial field, in Beijing the Chancellor had already advocated that the Chinese currency, the renminbi, be included in the IMF’s basket of key international currencies. "China would like to become a member of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, and we view this membership very positively, just as we are shareholders of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and would like to be involved in the work of the Investment Bank at top level," said Angela Merkel.

Both sides welcomed cooperation on the implementation of the framework for action for the bilateral partnership on innovation. Prime Minister Li underlined China’s interest in greater cooperation. "To this end we must cooperate to link 'Industry 4.0' and the 'Made in China 2025' strategy," he said. The aim is to better develop the dynamism of markets. "That opens up enormous opportunities for our cooperation."

Dialogue on the rule of law

With the Chinese Prime Minister, the Chancellor discussed civil society and the rule-of-law dialogue. They also discussed legislation currently being debated in the National People’s Congress, she said, which relates to non-governmental organisations.

With a view ahead to the rule-of-law dialogue to be held in China at the end of November, the Chancellor stressed, "I have expressed my conviction here that non-governmental organisations are very important for society, and that German organisations in particular, especially the political foundations, are performing extremely valuable work in China. And that this ought to be possible in future too."

Climate change mitigation

Looking ahead to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of the year, the Chancellor praised the constructive role played by China in preparations and in drafting very ambitious proposals. "We are particularly excited to see the introduction of an emissions trading system for carbon dioxide, because this is a field in which there could be cooperation and close exchange with the European Union," she stressed.



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