BEIJING, March 15 (Xinhua) -- China's new Premier Li Keqiang and his German counterpart Angela Merkel held a telephone conversation on Friday, and the two leaders agreed to further promote bilateral relations and cooperation.
Merkel congratulated Li on his endorsement as premier, and said she was happy for being the first foreign leader to talk to Li after he took over the premiership.
China's development is essential to both Germany and the world, and Germany highly values its relationship with China, she said.
As China's friend and partner, she added, Germany hopes to maintain bilateral high-level contact with China, promote pragmatic cooperation, and facilitate common development.
Li appreciated Merkel's greetings, and said China and Germany are both nations with huge influence.
He said he would like to maintain close contact with Merkel so as to jointly enhance China-Germany cooperation in all sectors, push for closer coordination in international affairs, and further promote bilateral relations.
Seeking to develop its relationship with Europe is a strategic choice and long-term policy for China, Li said.
He added that China is willing to work with the European side including Germany to further tap the potential for political, economic, humanistic cooperation between the two sides, so as to contribute to world peace, prosperity and development.
The two leaders also exchanged their views on how the European nations have handled their sovereign debt problems, and Merkel thanked China's support and assistance to the continent.
Li was endorsed as Chinese premier Friday morning at the ongoing session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature.
Nearly 3,000 NPC deputies voted to approve the nomination of Li, by newly-elected President Xi Jinping, as the candidate for premier at the legislative session.