BEIJING, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed in Beijing on Monday to expand cooperation in such areas as trade, technology and environmental protection, to build a stronger strategic partnership to cope with global challenges.
In their talks at the Great Hall of the People, Li said China and Germany enjoy broad common ground in safeguarding world peace, developing a win-win partnership and advocating global free trade.
Hailing the achievements since diplomatic ties were established 42 years ago, he said China hopes to cement understanding and trust with Germany, and the two countries should respect each other's core interests and major concerns.
China will give full play to the consultation mechanism between the two governments and speed up formulation of a medium-to-long-term cooperation plan, said the Chinese premier.
He also suggested cooperation in such areas as trade, finance, technology, industry, information technology, energy saving, environmental protection and culture, as well as coordination in global affairs.
China will participate as a partner country in CeBIT 2015 in Hanover, one of the world's largest IT fairs, Li said, and the two will host a China-Germany Year of Innovative Cooperation next year.
Regarding China-Europe ties, Li hoped Germany would play a positive and constructive role in China-Europe ties and properly settle trade disputes through dialogue.
Merkel, on her seventh China visit as German Chancellor, said Germany hoped to build an innovative partnership with China, and expand bilateral cooperation in finance, technology, agriculture and culture.
The Chinese economy is full of vitality, she said, adding German companies would like to expand investment in China, and participate in the development of central and western China.
Germany welcomes Chinese investment and will make efforts to streamline visa processes to facilitate personnel exchanges, Merkel said.
The German leader said her country supports exchanges and dialogues between European Union and China, and is ready to play a constructive role in advancing EU-China relations.
After their talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of bilateral agreements on cooperation in trade, aviation and environmental protection.
Later on Monday, China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang met with Merkel, calling for closer exchanges between the two countries' parliaments.
The Chinese National People's Congress hopes to improve understanding and trust between the two countries and promote the sustained and healthy development of the Sino-German strategic partnership, Zhang said.
Merkel, for her part, said various political parties of the German parliament attach great importance to their ties with China.
She pledged to facilitate closer exchanges and cooperation between the two parliaments.
Merkel arrived in Chengdu, capital of southwestern China's Sichuan Province, on Sunday to start her three-day China tour.