Government consultations with China
Rule of law strengthens trust
The central theme for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her delegation during consultations with the Chinese government was that the rule of law ought to be the basis for all state actions. At the end of her trip, Angela Merkel stressed the importance of continued cooperation with China.
This cooperation makes it possible to discuss critical points in depth.
Speaking during the last stop on her trip to China in Shenyang in the north east of the country, Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed on Tuesday how important it is to meet Chinese partners regularly for consultations. "This spawns ongoing cooperation within the scope of which it is entirely possible to discuss critical points in great detail." She reported that her trip had further strengthened Sino-German cooperation, and made it clear that the engagement of German businesses in China is securing jobs in Germany too.
The Chancellor stressed that this well-established procedure means that cooperation can also be consolidated in the fields of health, agriculture, research and now even social policy.
On 13 June the German and Chinese governments met for the fourth time for government consultations. At a joint press conference with Prime Minister Li Keqiang, following their talks, Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the matter of the interests of German industry. The aim of cooperation must be to achieve a win-win situation, she said, which includes equal treatment and legal certainty.
Important government and business agreements were signed at a special ceremony. The consultations closed with the adoption of a joint statement, which includes progress reports on the joint action framework agreed by the two governments at their last government consultations in 2014 in Berlin.
Work to continue on market economy status
The further development of economic relations was on the agenda of the Sino-German government consultations in Beijing. Chinese companies are displaying a high level of interest in acquiring German businesses, said Angela Merkel. If we are open, she said, "It must be possible to find good solutions here too. We do, of course, expect reciprocity from the Chinese side."
With a view to the market economy status which China aims to achieve within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Angela Merkel pointed out that talks with the European Commission have not yet been concluded. Against the background of excess capacity on the Chinese steel market, "more technical discussions will be needed at expert level in order to achieve results that can generate WTO-compliant solutions, and that are appropriate in the face of economic problems."
On her return, she said, she will be reporting on her talks in Beijing to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. In early summer an EU-China summit is to be held. Against this background, the Chancellor declared herself confident that a solution can be found by the end of the year.
Successful cooperation in third states
Angela Merkel welcomed the successful cooperation on projects in third countries, which she termed a "qualitatively new approach". She gave the examples of developing disaster risk management and mining capabilities in Afghanistan as well as development cooperation in African states. Good cooperation in third states can also be seen in the field of business cooperation, she pointed out.
South China Sea – seeking a solution to the conflict
The Chancellor expressly welcomed constructive approaches in China’s foreign policy. "There are encouraging examples of how we have managed to move closer to resolving larger scale conflicts. I am thinking of the talks with Iran, in which both Germany and China were involved. We would obviously welcome similar progress in Syria and Libya."
With a view to tensions in the South China Sea, she said, we must manage "to resolve conflicts peacefully, if at all possible, in a variety of different formats, including multilateral formats." The Chancellor did, however, also say, "Different views prevail here on some issues." These, she added, will have to discussed further. "These are issues that will continue to occupy us."
Non-governmental organisations – early warning system desired
On Sunday, the Chancellor spoke with Prime Minister Li Keqiang about the new law on non-governmental organisations, which is to come in force in China at the start of 2017. In the evening Angela Merkel reported that she had discussed with the Prime Minister how "a sort of early warning system can be used, when (...) non-governmental organisations like chambers of trade and commerce or political foundations are no longer able to perform their work so well".
Continuing to build on the trust that has been forged
At the start of her trip on Sunday the Chancellor was presented with an honorary doctorate from the University of Nanjing at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. The University of Nanjing can look back on long-standing cooperation with Germany in the field of legal studies and has, since 1989, been home to the Sino-German Institute for Legal Studies.
In her address Angela Merkel pointed to the link between the rule of law and social stability. A reliable legal framework is "also very important for every business, which has to calculate and plan, whether inside the country or abroad." This obviously applies in both directions. "We have reciprocity. Chinese businesses will obviously also enter the German market."
With a view to the foreign-policy cooperation between the two countries, Angela Merkel welcomed China’s constructive inputs to the nuclear agreement with Iran and the Paris Agreement on climate change, to give two examples. The trust thus forged should be used further, on the basis of international law, for instance to reduce tensions in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, she said. Germany would be delighted, said the Chancellor, "if a binding code of conduct were to be achieved between the ASEAN states and China, for instance."
Early on Monday afternoon the Chancellor and the Chinese Prime Minister attended the third session of the Chinese-German Economic Advisory Committee and the joint Forum for Economic and Technological Cooperation. This was followed by talks with the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Zhang Dejiang and dinner with the Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In the evening Angela Merkel met representatives of Chinese civil society at the German Embassy in Beijing for an exchange of views. They included human rights lawyers, an artist, a writer and a political scientist.
Visit to Shenyang
On Tuesday the Chancellor visited the city of Shenyang in north-eastern China, where she visited the former Imperial Palace of the Manchu and an industrial museum. In the afternoon she visited the BMW plant in Shenyang before flying back to Berlin.
The first Sino-German government consultations were held in Berlin in June 2011. The two governments met for the second time in August 2012 in Beijing, after which the Chancellor visited the city of Tianjin. The third consultations took place on 10 October 2014 in Berlin.