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Premier's European tour to bolster ties, ministry says

By CAO DESHENG | | Updated: 2023-06-15 23:24
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Premier Li Qiang will start a European tour on Sunday, his first overseas visit since taking office in March.

The six-day trip, which will take him to Germany and France, is considered by observers as a trip to enhance China's cooperation with the two major European countries and contribute to the healthy and stable development of China-Europe relations.

Li's visit is at the invitation of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the French government, according to the Foreign Ministry. It comes against the backdrop of complex changes in the international situation, the rising challenges of geopolitical competition, the lingering Ukraine crisis and the slow world economic recovery.

The premier's choice of Germany and France as the destinations of his first overseas visit fully demonstrates China's high regard for the development of its ties with the two countries, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday.

Speaking at a regular news conference, Wang said that in addition to making an official visit to both Germany and France, Li will hold the seventh China-Germany intergovernmental consultation in Berlin and attend the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris.

During his stay in Germany, Li will also attend the 11th Sino-German Economic and Technical Cooperation Forum and have in-depth exchanges with representatives of the business communities from both countries, Wang said.

In the face of the tumultuous international situation, a weak global economic recovery and mounting common challenges facing humanity, China hopes to deepen and expand relations with Germany, Wang said.

This way, both countries will send a positive signal by strengthening dialogue and cooperation, upholding mutual benefit and win-win results, and jointly responding to global challenges, and thus contribute to world economic prosperity, peace and stability, he added.

Regarding Li's visit to France, Wang said the premier will take the opportunity to promote the continuous development of the China-France comprehensive strategic partnership and contribute to the healthy and stable development of China-Europe relations.

Wang spoke highly of the significance of the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact initiated by French President Emmanuel Macron, saying that as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and responsible major powers, China and France play an important role in upholding multilateralism and promoting international cooperation to respond to global challenges.

A recent poll by the European Council on Foreign Relations found that the prevailing view is that China is a "necessary partner". A large majority of Europeans want to remain neutral between China and the United States and are reluctant to "de-risk" from China, according to the poll results, which were released on June 7.

Many European leaders, including European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Macron and German Chancellor Scholz, have said recently that "decoupling" from China is neither viable nor desirable, and they underlined the importance of maintaining contact and cooperation with China.

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