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Special> 40th Anniversary of Sino-German Diplomatic Relations> Latest Headlines
UPDATED: August 31, 2012
Wen Holds Talks With Merkel, Pledging Stronger Ties

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held talks and co-chaired the second round of Chinese-German intergovernmental consultations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Beijing Thursday, reaching agreement on a number of issues.

The two leaders had an in-depth exchange on issues like China-Germany ties, the European debt crisis as well as the recent solar panel dispute, reaching an important consensus.

Merkel's two-day visit is her second trip to China this year against the backdrop of the worsening European Union (EU) debt woes. This is Merkel's sixth visit to China since she took office in 2005.

Eight ministers and five vice ministers from China, and seven ministers and two state secretaries from the Germany attended the consultations.

During the talks, Wen said China and Germany had maintained close coordination to implement a consensus reached during the first round of Chinese-German intergovernmental consultations held in Berlin in June last year.

Both sides have progressed in fields including electric automobiles, small enterprises and vocational education, while expanding mutual investment, Wen said.

"These results are hard won as they have been accomplished under unfavorable international economic circumstances," according to the premier. "Therefore, the significance exceeds the range of the two countries."

As important global economies and strategic partners, China and Germany need to make efforts to lift the confidence of the international community and jointly face the challenges of the international financial crisis and the European debt crisis, Wen urged.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Germany. "This round of consultations is the last round between the incumbent government and the German side, and this forms a connecting link for future cooperation," Wen said.

Hailing the extensive common interests and frequent exchange of high-level visits between Germany and China, Merkel said it is of great importance that the two countries maintain close coordination in various fields.

Merkel echoed Wen's remarks on normalizing the mechanisms between Germany and China, calling on both sides to continue the intergovernmental consultations so that the bilateral cooperation can have a solid foundation.

"I welcome the new Chinese Government to hold the next round of consultations with Germany in Berlin in 2014, " Merkel said.

During the talks, Merkel briefed on the situation of the European debt crisis and Germany's responses, appreciating China's support and help to Europe.

She said Germany is working together with other European countries to push forward internal reforms in order to cut debts, raise competitiveness and safeguard the stability of the euro and the European integration construction.

Wen said the key to solve the European debt crisis lies in the resolutions and effectiveness of the countries concerned in pushing forward the reform within themselves, as well as Britain, France and Germany's willingness and timing to take action.

China will enhance communication and consultations with the EU, European Central Bank, relevant monetary funds and major countries to support the debt-ridden EU members to help them with their struggles, Wen said.

China hopes the EU can find a balance between fiscal austerity and economic stimulus, which is the fundamental way-out of the crisis, said Wen.

He said China is willing to continue investing in EU government bonds on condition it can gain assurances that the risks are being controlled.

China believes EU has the wisdom and capability in solving the debt crisis, Wen said, adding "we still have confidence of the EU economy, the eurozone and the euro."

On the recent solar panel dispute, both leaders suggested that China and Europe try to resolve the issue through talks and avoid anti-dumping proceedings.

"I suggest the European Commission and China try to solve the issue through communication, rather than by resorting to anti-dumping proceedings," Merkel told reporters in a joint press conference with Wen after the talks.

"There is still time, so the best way is consultation," she said.

Wen agreed with Merkel, stressing consultation is an effective tool to work out trade disputes. "It is also an important outcome of today's intergovernmental consultations, which I think will be exemplary to the world," he added.

After the talks, the two sides issued a joint statement and signed more than a dozen of cooperation agreements, covering fields such as energy, biotechnology, culture, environment and ocean and polar research.

(Xinhua News Agency August 30, 2012)

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