BEIJING, Nov 4 (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping touted the need for greater cooperation between China and Germany in “times of change and turmoil” during his first meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz , with talks expected to focus on Russia’s war on Ukraine, climate change and developing economic ties.
Scholtz’s visit on Friday is the first by a leader from a G7 country to China in three years and will test relations between Beijing and the West after years of rising tensions, analysts said.
In their first face-to-face meeting since Scholz took office, held at the Great Hall of the People, Xi said as major influential nations, China and Germany should work together all the more so in “times of change and turmoil” for the sake of world peace, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
Scholz told Xi it was good for the two leaders to meet in person during times of tension, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine creating problems for the rules-based global order, a reporter says. from Reuters accompanying the Scholz delegation.
Scholz also said that the two men will discuss issues related to Europe-China relations, the fight against climate change and world hunger, and how to develop Sino-German economic relations, as well as topics on which the perspectives of the two countries are different.
Scholz and a delegation of German business leaders traveling with him underwent COVID-19 tests when they landed in Beijing on Friday morning, with Chinese medical personnel donning hazmat suits entering the plane to carry out the tests, according to the Reuters journalist accompanying the delegation.
After a red carpet and honor guard reception, the delegation was transferred from the airport to the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse to await their COVID test results, which quickly came back negative for Scholz, according to his team. hurry. Diaoyutai is a diplomatic complex used to host receptions for foreign dignitaries visiting Beijing.
China’s strict zero COVID policy and rising tensions with the West have made it impossible for Western major power leaders to travel to China, while Xi has only just resumed overseas travel.
Scholz’s visit is likely a welcome development for China’s leaders, who will seek to shore up relations with the outside world after the conclusion of the 20th Party Congress, where Xi cemented his status as the core of the ruling Communist Party. Read more
“China, in the current domestic and international environment, demands its visit and anything the two sides would jointly declare in Beijing, especially soon after the (Party) Congress,” said Shi Yinhong, a relations professor. studies at Renmin University in Beijing.
TESTING THE WATERS
Amid historic inflation and a looming recession in Germany, Scholz will seek to stress the need for continued cooperation with China. Read more
Scholz was due to meet with Xi as well as outgoing Prime Minister Li Keqiang, where he is also expected to raise contentious issues such as human rights, Taiwan and the difficulties German companies face in accessing the Chinese market, according to government sources.
In the run up to the visit, the visit had been criticized within the EU and the German governing coalition, mainly from the Greens and Liberals.
Those tensions were highlighted by a deal last week in which Chinese shipping giant Cosco was given the green light by Berlin to secure a stake in a Hamburg port terminal despite opposition from coalition partners.
China’s crucial role in key industries, from shipbuilding to electric vehicles, as well as the unprecedented economic headwinds Germany is facing, mean Scholz needs cooperation with China more than his predecessor. Angela Merkel never did, said Wang Yiwei, Jean Monnet Professor and director of the Center for European Studies at Renmin University.
“Merkel was also quite ideological (towards China) at first, but then she changed her tone. Scholz changed her tone even faster, but he doesn’t have as strong a domestic political position as Merkel,” Wang said. .
Reporting by Andreas Rinke, Ryan Woo and Eduardo Baptista; Written by Eduardo Baptista; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Kim Coghill
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