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15 Apr, 2024 02:03

German leader greeted in China by deputy mayor (VIDEO)

Chancellor Olaf Scholz hopes to meet with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang later this week
German leader greeted in China by deputy mayor (VIDEO)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz embarked on a high-profile visit to China on Sunday in an effort to strengthen economic relations between the two nations, amid growing tensions between Western countries and Beijing over trade and political issues.

The сhancellor, accompanied by a large delegation of ministers and top executives from companies including Siemens, BMW, and Mercedes, arrived in the southwestern city of Chongqing, an industrial hub with a population of over 30 million.

Scholz went to China at the invitation of Premier Li Qiang – though at the airport, his delegation was greeted by the vice mayor of Chongqing, Zhang Guozhi, and China’s ambassador to Germany, Wu Ken.

The German leader is scheduled to visit the financial center of Shanghai on Monday, before traveling to the capital on Tuesday to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang. The three-day trip, the second and longest since he took office in 2021, is reportedly aimed at reinforcing business ties with the world’s second biggest economy, despite US calls for “decoupling.” He is also expected to discuss differences over the Russia-Ukraine conflict and tensions over Taiwan.

“China remains a really important economic partner,” Scholz told journalists on Friday, pledging to try and ensure fair competition for German companies operating in China.

The visit comes despite moves by Germany’s Western partners to curb trade with Beijing, and the US probing the national security risks presumably posed by Chinese technology. China has denied any wrongdoing, dismissing all allegations as politically motivated and unfair competition practices.