Vi­tal­ity

Merkel’s re­cent visit to China serves to deepen bi­lat­eral ties and up­hold mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism By Wen Qing

Beijing Review - - World -

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, the most fre­quent of­fi­cial Western guest to China, has vis­ited China 11 times in her 12 years in of­fice, which has earned her a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the world lead­ers who know China best.

Merkel’s most re­cent trip to China on May 24-25 was her first since the start of her fourth term ear­lier this year as she aims to deepen bi­lat­eral trade and eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion with the world’s sec­ond largest econ­omy, and to safe­guard a mul­ti­lat­eral, rules-based sys­tem of free trade in a world of grow­ing un­cer­tainty.

A sym­bolic choice

Dur­ing her pre­vi­ous 10 trips, Merkel vis­ited an ar­ray of Chi­nese cities, in­clud­ing Bei­jing, Nan­jing, Tian­jin and He­fei. This time, she chose the south­ern city of Shen­zhen in Guang­dong Prov­ince as the first leg of her jour­ney to China be­fore ar­riv­ing in Bei­jing.

As the in­no­va­tion hub of China, Shen­zhen is home to Ten­cent, Huawei, BYD Auto and sev­eral other tech gi­ants. Ac­cord­ing to Li Chao, a re­searcher with the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, Merkel’s visit to Shen­zhen evinced her in­ter­est in the de­vel­op­ment of China’s tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try and also in­di­cated that emerg­ing sec­tors, such as ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, new-en­ergy ve­hi­cles and driver­less tech­nol­ogy, are to be­come key fields of co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries in the fu­ture.

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