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