China has developed at meteoric speed over the last decades, and many Chinese have been lifted out of poverty. "With China’s economic weight, its global responsibility has also grown," stressed Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to Huazhong University for Science and Technology in Wuhan.
We need to act together, not alone
Changes for the better are possible, continued the Chancellor. But no one nation can go it alone. "More than ever before we must think multilaterally rather than unilaterally, and act globally rather than nationally, we must be open to the world, not isolationist – in short, we need to act together, rather than alone."
Essentially, globalisation demands "an awareness of our shared responsibility, which should guide our actions". This is particularly apparent with respect to climate change, she said.
Meeting with the Prime Minister
At the start of her visit on Friday Chancellor Angela Merkel first met Prime Minister Li Keqiang for talks in Beijing. Angela Merkel advocated a swift end to the conflict between China and the USA over tariffs. She underlined the fact that China’s trade conflict with the USA impacts around the world, on German companies too. "That is why Germany has a major interest in properly functioning multilateral trade, a strong WTO and also robust bilateral trading relations," said the Chancellor.
Conflict in Hong Kong should be resolved peacefully
The conflict in Hong Kong was also on the agenda of their talks. Angela Merkel called for a peaceful solution. In the given situation, she said, everything must be done to avoid violence. In this context she welcomed the announcement of the Hong Kong government, that the extradition bill would be formally withdrawn. There are signs that Hong Kong’s leader is now prepared to facilitate a dialogue.
Stepping up economic relations
In Beijing the Chancellor also attended a meeting of the Sino-German economic advisory committee. This year it met for the sixth time. She called on Chinese companies to invest more in Germany. These companies are invited to continue to invest in Germany, said Angela Merkel. In this context she also pointed to the need for an investment protection agreement between the EU and China.
At a ceremony in Beijing eleven agreements were signed, including agreements in the fields of aeronautical engineering and shipping, electric mobility and energy, insurance, digital education and finance. Agreements on connected driving and on avoiding and recycling waste were also signed.
Talks in Beijing and Wuhan
During a dinner hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday evening Sino-German relations were discussed along with the "comprehensive strategic partnership" between the two countries.
Chancellor Angela Merkel also attended the final session of the Sino-German Dialogue Forum and visited the company ZF-Powertrain.
On Saturday, the Chancellor met with representatives of the provincial government and visited the Sino-German Friendship Hospital, the Tongji Hospital. Founded in 1900 in China by a German doctor, the hospital is a good example of cooperation between the two countries.
The final point on the Chancellor’s itinerary was a visit to and tour of the company Webasto – a German automobile supplier.
In 2018, China was Germany’s most important trading partner for the third consecutive year, with a volume of trade of 199.3 billion euros. Germany is China’s largest European trading partner. For Germany’s automobile industry and mechanical engineering branch China is the main sales market worldwide.