China-Germany ties elevated to strategic track

By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-07-17 09:04
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China-Germany ties elevated to strategic track

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in Beijing on Friday. During a 40-minute interactive session, Merkel spoke about political issues and more intimate topics such as family life with the school's members. [Xu Jingxing / China Daily] 

Beijing - German Chancellor Angela Merkel received a big gift for her 56th birthday, which falls on Saturday - a communique to elevate Sino-German ties to a strategic track, besides a dozen commercial deals that were inked on Friday.

The two countries issued the 28-point joint communique envisaging strategic partnership in politics, business and culture.

The joint communique also said Germany would support the recognition of China as a market economy by the EU, a title that will give China advantageous status in international trade.

This is the second joint communique in Sino-German history after the one that established diplomatic ties, and it is of historic significance, as it will help map out the blueprint of bilateral ties, Premier Wen Jiabao told a press conference in Merkel's presence.

Merkel said the ties between Germany and China are set to deepen with annual consultations between both governments.

Analysts said the agreements mean both sides now better understand how they need each other despite differences in ideology and political institution.

China was upset by Merkel's decision to meet the Dalai Lama in 2007.

But tensions appear to have become a thing of the past, with Germany confirming its support for the one China policy and the territorial integrity of China.

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Recent meetings between Merkel and Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of several global summits have further warmed the ties.

According to Mei Zhaorong, former Chinese ambassador to Germany, while trade has always been put high on the agenda of bilateral ties, now the relationship has surpassed trade to be more comprehensive as the two countries need better cooperation on major global affairs.

The two countries should avail themselves of the current visit by Merkel to review bilateral ties from a strategic point, and plan the blueprint in the following years to establish a strategic partnership with a common vision, Mei told the Xinhua News Agency.

According to Mei, the two countries should learn a lesson from history and ensure that the differences in ideology and politic system will not become obstacles in bilateral cooperation.

Economic issues featured heavily in the talks during Merkel's fourth visit to China as the German chancellor.

"China and Germany decided to overcome the hardship by working together when the financial crisis took hold last January," Wen said. China's response to the crisis had proved effective, and was creating opportunities for other economies, including the export-led Germany, Merkel said.

Wen and Merkel, who led a portfolio of more than 20 heads of transitional German companies to China, were both present when the 10 deals were inked on Friday.

The deals include those on emission reduction, energy saving, environmental protection, renewable energy, electric vehicles and technological cooperation. The two sides also signed a pledge to establish Sino-German eco parks.

The two governments further agreed to increase economic and technological cooperation, and hold a Chinese Culture Year in Germany in 2012.