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Rau pledges to promote bilateral ties
( 2003-09-13 08:46) (China Daily)

Visiting German President Johannes Rau on Friday pledged to promote comprehensive co-operation with China.

In a speech delivered at Tsinghua University, Rau said China is German's most important trade partner in Asia and Germany has become China's largest trade partner in Europe.

He said bilateral trade volume has seen a remarkable increase in recent years and still has huge potential for growth.

Two-way trade last year reached US$27.8 billion, almost 100 times as much as the US$273 million in 1972 when the two countries established diplomatic ties.

Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday agreed with Rau in the meeting that the two countries should further consolidate economic co-operation in their meeting.

"The impact of China's reform since 1980s has gone far beyond the economic field, exerting comprehensive influence over Germany-China relations,'' Rau said in the speech delivered through interpreters.

More than 100,000 Chinese tourists visited Germany last year alone and China has become a hot tour destination for Germans.

He said currently over 14,000 Chinese are studying in Germany and studying in Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing has become a helpful qualification for German college students looking for well-paid jobs in the industrial sector.

"These young people, reflecting our mutual interests in each other, will secure our mutual understanding and friendship in the future,'' Rau said.

Pan Xiaobin, an undergraduate with the Industrial Engineering Department of Tsinghua, said he is looking forward to studying advanced technology in Germany, as his department has an student-exchange programme with a German university.

In response to a student's question on whether Germany will send troops to Iraq, Rau said Germany should not do that, though it is willing to help in the rebuilding of Iraq.

Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress yesterday, in a separate meeting with Rau, said the two countries should expand parliamentary exchanges as well.

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