BERLIN, March. 11 (Xinhua) -- Germany and Europe find China a reliable strategic partner as China's leadership has signalled consistency in pushing forward modernization domestically and continuing its responsible foreign policies on international affairs, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said in a recently interview with Xinhua.
China's ongoing NPC and CPPCC annual sessions have clearly shown that the country will maintain the consistency of its opening-up policy and take its due responsibility in international politics while safeguarding regional stability, Schroeder said, adding that the two sides shall strive to overcome their differences on some political issues.
As the annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's legislature, and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's political advisory body, are under way in Beijing, Schroeder said the new leadership have realized the necessity of reforms on threes fronts.
"Firstly, there is need to carry on the opening-up policy, " said Schroeder, who served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005, adding that it has been fully noted that economic growth cannot be achieved at the expense of nature.
"Thirdly, they have realized that the widening gap between the rich and the poor shall not be allowed," he said. "Therefore, the Chinese leadership faces enormous tasks and have set to work on them."
Schroeder said he fully agrees with Chinese leadership's focus on earnest implementation of environmental protection standards to achieve sustainable development, adding that the development of the country's western region should continue in order to further narrow the economic gap between the more developed eastern provinces and relatively underdeveloped western region.
The ultimate goal is to foster a stable domestic market by encouraging domestic need, as a lopsided emphasis on export is not enough, he said.
A fundamental shift of mode of economic growth in China can also benefit Germany as there are plenty of opportunities for the two countries to cooperate on environment protection and green energy, he added.
"During my chancellorship, I strove to deepen the relations with China and we established and deepened our strategic partnership," he said. "We should continue strengthening economic exchange for the well-being of our countries."
China and Europe are not competitors against each other, he said, adding that partnership leads to win-win results while trade protectionism brings more harm to German interests than it does to China.
He said Germany welcomes Chinese investors and he believes it is important to finally recognize China's status as a market economy country, adding that trade barriers should be eliminated in the age of global cooperation.
Economic cooperation still enjoys great potential between the two countries, he said, as more Chinese enterprises invest in the German market, including Chinese construction equipment manufacturer Sany Heavy Industry's acquisition of Putzmeister, a German engineering firm.
Besides economic cooperation, Schroeder said he is also happy to see more cultural exchange between Germany and China as more and more Chinese students come to Germany for study, while the same is true for German youths. He mentioned that his daughter also went to China to study.
Commenting on China's foreign policy, Schroeder said China has adopted very responsible foreign policies, which not only contribute to building a stable environment for its own development but also plays a positive role in maintaining global stability.
During the next decade, China shall solve the problems that have emerged with rapid modernization on the domestic front while maintaining responsible foreign policies to further integrate into the international system, Schroeder said, adding that by doing these, China will continue its relations with Germany and Europe as a reliable strategic partner.