Premier Li Keqiang on Oct 9 kicks off his second visit to Germany since he took office in March last year, sending a strong signal of Beijing’s intention to further promote ties with Berlin.
Germany is China’s biggest European partner in trade, investment and technological cooperation. Bilateral trade exceeded $160 billion in 2013.
Observers expect the trip to greatly enhance China’s relations with Germany and to promote practical cooperation between the two economic powerhouses.
“Germany is the most important cooperation partner of China in Europe. Their cooperation, exceeding China’s cooperation with any other European country in terms of both breadth and depth, has been playing a leading and pilot role in the development of the China-Europe relationship,” said Mei Zhaorong, a former Chinese ambassador to Germany.
China and Germany have witnessed intensive top-level exchanges this year. President Xi Jinping visited Germany in March, which was followed by a tour of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to China four months later.
“From President Xi’s European trip, we can clearly feel that European countries, including Germany, have changed their views on China. They have now realized that China is more and more important to their development,” said Xiong Wei of the China Foreign Affairs University.
Li is scheduled to co-chair with Merkel the third round of China-Germany governmental consultations, meet German President Joachim Gauck and witness the signing of more than 10 business and intergovernmental agreements and contracts.
Notably, a China-Germany cooperation program for the next five to 10 years is expected to be endorsed by both sides during the visit.
“The two governments will focus their consultations on formulating a program to develop their strategic partnership and promote their practical cooperation in trade, economy, technology and other fields, especially in the area of innovation,” said Mei, the former ambassador.
Xiong, the scholar, said cooperation in innovation, especially in industrial informatization, finance, aviation and space technology, will give new impetus to China-Germany ties.
Companies from the two countries will also sign cooperation agreements in car-making, clean energy and mobile communication.
“Seen from all perspectives, the future development of the China-Germany relationship is bright and broad, as both of the two manufacturing powers pay close attention to the real economy,” said Mei.
Although China and Germany have similar economic structures, they are on different development stages, he said, adding that this makes their economies highly complementary and cooperation necessary.