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Sino-German co-operation hailed
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-05 08:37

For Premier Wen Jiabao, Germany has turned out to be "a good beginning" on his on-going European tour with news he and his German counterpart Gerhard Schroeder reached consensus on ambitious co-operative plans for the two countries.

Premier Wen Jiabao (left) and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder link arms before they listen to their nations' anthems as Wen arrives at the chancellery in Berlin on Monday. Wen is on the second day of a European tour. [Xinhua]
According to a joint declaration reached by the two leaders on Monday, China and Germany will double the volume of their economic and trading exchange by 2010 while working to improve all-around bilateral relations.

"Economic and trade exchanges between China and Germany account for a third of Sino-EU trade volume," Wen said.

Indeed, China is Germany's third largest trading partner in Asia and bilateral trade reached US$41.8 billion last year, Wen noted.

The German chancellor said the two nations take similar or identical stances on many international issues.

He stressed that Germany will strictly follow the one-China policy and will not change that stance.

The two sides have agreed to set up a regular meetings mechanism at prime ministerial level to continue to enhance consensus on major international issues, Wen said at a joint news conference after the two leaders met.

China also suggested setting up regular dialogue on anti-terrorism and legal issues, Wen said.

The premier expressed his congratula-tions and support for the EU's enlargement, noting that China attaches great importance to the union's role in dealing with political and economic affairs.

China thinks highly of its EU relationship, regarding it as long-term, and influencing the future of the of the world, he said.

"A sound Sino-EU relationship will not only benefit China and the EU but will be good for peace and stability of the world," Wen said.

High-tech co-operation between China and Germany will serve as a pillar of bilateral economic co-operation, Wen said.

Both leaders agreed to strengthen co-operation between their nations' respective enterprises, especially between small and medium-sized enterprises. The governments will provide more convenient conditions to that aim, Wen said.

To encourage more Chinese firms to invest in Germany, China will offer preferential measures on bank credit, trade policy, insurance, and finance and investment policies, Wen said.

Among the 7,000 Chinese enterprises that have invested abroad, more than 600 have invested funds in Germany, Wen said. On the removal of EU weapon embargoes to China, Wen said it is the right time to end the embargoes. He said China opposes connecting the issue with any other matters.

Schroeder said Germany will push the EU leaders to admit China's position as a market economy and for an early termination of the arms embargo against China by other EU nations.

Answering an inquiry on nuclear technology co-operation, Wen said collaboration between China and Germany is equally and mutually-beneficial and is for completely peaceful purposes.

A Chinese culture centre will be established in Berlin in the near future, Schroeder said.

Before the news conference, the two leaders appeared at a signing ceremony for agreements and contracts on technological co-operation to reinvigorate the traditional Chinese Northeast industrial base and some other projects. Before the meeting with Schroeder, Wen also visited Potsdam, where the famous Potsdam Agreement was signed in 1945 after World War II.

That signing confirmed Taiwan is a part of China, paving the way of Taiwan's returning to the motherland, he said.

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