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Premier makes first visit to Germany
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-04 08:45

BERLIN: Premier Wen Jiabao started his busy schedule in Berlin yesterday on a three-day official visit to Germany and his first visit to Europe since he took office as premier one year ago.

Wen visited a Siemens plant soon after his arrival from Munich.

Earlier, Wen's plane touched down at Munich's Franz Josef Straus Airport on Sunday local time, in the German state of Bavaria. He was then greeted by Bavarian Minister-President Edmund Stoiber.

Wen went straight to visit a farm and the headquarters of German giant automobile maker Audi AG in Ingolstdt after his arrival.

At the Audi AG headquarters, Wen was shown around the assembly lines and an Audi car exhibition.

He also witnessed the signing of an agreement between automobile giant Volkswagen and its Chinese co-operative partner, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.

Wen said he hoped the German automobile maker could transfer technology to its Chinese partners, expand co-operation on joint research and development and enhance personnel training.

"I believe, our partnership will be constantly developed," Wen said.

Then he attended a signing ceremony for an intention agreement to set up a new joint venture plant near Shanghai between the two groups. Volkswagen AG, including Audi, boasts the biggest automobile share on the Chinese market.

At a welcoming banquet hosted by Bavarian Minister-President Stoiber on Sunday evening, Wen highly praised Bavaria's role in promoting Sino-German ties.

He said the current Sino-German relations are in the best period in history and that Bavaria has greatly contributed to the development of relations of all-round co-operation and friendship between the two nations.

Stoiber extended a warm welcome to Wen.

Stoiber said that Bavaria has been constantly pushing forward friendly relations between China and Germany, and is willing to make concerted efforts to further enhance the German-Chinese comprehensive partnership.

Germany is the first leg of the Chinese premier's five-nation European tour, which will also take him to Belgium, Italy, Britain and Ireland.

He will also meet with European Union officials in Brussels.

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