German leader to make 12th China visit
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will pay an official visit to China on Friday and Saturday, marking her 12th trip to the country, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang announced on Monday.
Merkel is scheduled to meet with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, according to an online statement made by German Federal Government spokesman Steffen Seibert.
Discussions will focus on bilateral relations, economic policy and international issues, the statement said.
The chancellor will arrive with a large business delegation, and she will participate in the meeting of the advisory committee on German-Chinese business and the closing session of the German-Chinese dialogue forum, it said.
Merkel will also visit Wuhan, Hubei province, where she will talk to students at a university, it added.
Her visit aims to promote economic cooperation with China amid Beijing's commercial disputes with Washington and to enhance China-European Union cooperation, said Feng Zhongping, vice-president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
Germany is also dealing with trade pressure from the US and is facing the possibility of an economic downturn. Germany, therefore, hopes to boost its economy through "getting aboard the express train of China's economic development", Feng said.
Cooperation between China and Germany is mutually beneficial, Feng said, adding that the two countries share common interests and are highly complementary.
As a key member of the EU, Germany will also help deepen the bloc's ties with China through its 2020 EU presidency, Feng said.
Germany takes over the rotating six-month presidency in the second half of 2020. Germany has been calling on the EU to unify its position and policy toward China, and it believes that cooperating with China as a whole will also strengthen the unity of the EU, he added.
Merkel has visited a number of cities across China in her previous trips.
"As bilateral cooperation is expanding, Germany is looking for more cooperation opportunities in different cities," Feng said.