Commentary: Xi's visit offers historic opportunity to advance China-Germany cooperation
                 English.news.cn | 2014-03-28 22:34:32 | Editor: Mu Xuequan

by Xinhua Writer Xu Ke

BEIJING, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Berlin on Friday for a state visit, the first by a Chinese head of state in eight years.

China-Germany ties have always be considered as one of the most stable relationships between China and major European powers, politically and economically.

Xi's visit presents a historic opportunity to further consolidate and enrich China's practical cooperation with Germany and with the European Union (EU) at large.

The two countries' ever deepening political ties stem to a large extent from their inter-governmental consultation mechanism, which was launched in 2011 as the first of its kind between the Chinese government and a foreign one.

Meanwhile, senior leaders of both countries have maintained frequent and effective exchanges over the past few years, whether during visits or on other bilateral or multilateral platforms. That has also helped to build up their mutual trust.

Apart from their stable political relationship, Beijing and Berlin also share strong trade and economic ties, while their economies have become increasingly interdependent.

Germany is China's largest trading partner within Europe, while China is Germany's biggest in the Asia-Pacific region.

Official figures showed that two-way trade stood at 122.9 billion U.S. dollars in the first three quarters of 2013, which amounted to almost one third of the grand total between China and the EU.

However, the two countries can do more than that.

As the Chinese president is traveling in Germany, he brings with him a host of opportunities for both countries that could later be translated into more real benefits to the peoples of the two nations.

During Xi's talks with German President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel, the two sides will map out the relations for the coming five to 10 years from a strategic and long-term perspective.

They are expected to sign cooperation agreements on industry, aviation, science and technology, education, culture and agriculture. These deals will help Germany better stave off the fall-out of Europe's most devastating financial turmoils in recent memory.

More specifically, German auto-makers, machinery producers and chemical companies will be able to create more jobs at home and generate lucrative profits in Chinese markets despite a relatively weak demand in Europe.

On key international problems like the Iranian nuclear issue, China and Germany hold similar positions, and have worked together to try to tackle the nuclear conundrum through peaceful means.

Furthermore, Beijing hopes that Germany will do more to promote China's relationship and cooperation with the EU, including recognizing China's full market economy status and lifting the bloc's export ban on arms.

Berlin can also play a more active and constructive role in settling trade disputes between China and the EU over items like Chinese-made solar panels.

Policymakers in both Germany and the wider Europe have to understand that a vibrant trade relationship fits the interests of all parties.Therefore, dialogues and consultation, rather than punitive measures, are considered as the best option to figure out trade frictions.

Ultimately, the only standard to measure the quality of any bilateral cooperation is whether it can bring about real benefits.

With opportunities to enhance that kind of mutually favorable collaboration now at the doorstep, trust and concrete actions are badly needed.

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