The relations between China and Germany are beyond bilateral ties and their cooperation has achieved “a whole greater than the sum of the parts,” Chinese Ambassador to Germany Wu Ken has said.
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan is visiting Germany from May 30 to June 2 at the invitation of the German Federal Government. During the visit, China and Germany will have an in-depth exchange of ideas on bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields, Wu noted in a recent interview.
Wu said the two countries will enhance the global and strategic significance of bilateral cooperation in light of the developments and changes in the international situation, hoping to put positive energy and stabilising force into the region and the world through promoting pragmatic cooperation and mutual trust.
Wu noted that 2019 marks the 5th anniversary of the establishment of an all-round strategic partnership between China and Germany. He said the Sino-German ties have been developing continuously at a high level, reaching an unprecedented depth and breadth, bringing tangible benefits to the two countries and peoples.
Wu pointed out the high-level bilateral contacts have played a leading role in bilateral ties.
“The leaders of the two countries have exchanged visits frequently,” said Wu. “There are more than 70 wide-ranging and multi-level dialogue mechanisms, including government consultations, between the two countries, which will strengthen political mutual trust and further understanding and support for both sides.”
In 2018, bilateral trade volume amounted to nearly 200 billion euros. Germany has been China’s biggest trade partner in Europe for 43 consecutive years, while China has been Germany’s biggest trade partner for three years, said Wu, noting that trade between the two countries has realised mutual benefits with “great openness.”
“There is great potential in such new areas as digitisation, new energy vehicles, artificial intelligence and autonomous driving,” said Wu. “Innovation has become the engine of Sino-German cooperation.”
As to people-to-people exchanges, the diplomat said there is an “unprecedented closeness” between Germans and Chinese.
“Currently, more than 60,000 Chinese students are studying in Germany and more than 8,000 German students in China. In 2018, about 1.5 million Chinese tourists visited Germany, and there are about 100 direct flights between the two countries on a weekly basis,” Wu said.
Wu called on Germany and China to build “model relations” that transcend ideological differences, as instability and uncertainty are increasing globally.
China and Germany should enhance collaboration at China-EU level and under the multilateral framework of the United Nations, G20 and other international organisations, said Wu, adding that the two countries should jointly safeguard the rule-based multilateral trade system, clearly oppose protectionism and unilateralism, maintain trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation and maintain the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
On the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the diplomat said Germany “participated in it early, cooperated firmly and enjoys a bright future.”
“Germany is the founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the largest extraterritorial investor. Siemens recently signed a memorandum to strengthen cooperation under the framework of the BRI. Over 14,000 trains have been operated through China Railway Express, and nearly half of the goods transported on the line were between Germany and China,” Wu noted.
Wu added that German cities such as Duisburg and Hamburg have benefited a lot from the BRI initiative, and their stories have spurred the enthusiasm of all levels of government, economic circles and especially small enterprises in Germany to join the BRI.
Wu said China will actively promote Sino-German cooperation in third-party markets along the BRI routes and combine the complementary advantages of the two countries with local development needs in a bid to benefit each other.