Xi, Merkel meet­ings pro­duc­tive

Pres­i­dent, Ger­man leader find many points of con­sen­sus dur­ing visit

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AN BAIJIE in Ber­lin an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China and Ger­many signed a num­ber of doc­u­ments on Wed­nes­day to boost co­op­er­a­tion in such ar­eas as in­vest­ment, trade, aerospace and panda pro­tec­tion dur­ing Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s sec­ond state visit to the Euro­pean coun­try.

Meet­ing with Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, Xi said that as the world’s sec­ond- and fourth-largest economies, China and Ger­many are two great forces with sig­nif­i­cant in­flu­ence on the sta­bil­ity of Eura­sia.

The con­ver­sa­tion with Merkel was pro­duc­tive, Xi told re­porters af­ter­ward, not­ing that he had reached many new points of agree­ment with the Ger­man leader on such is­sues as en­hanc­ing po­lit­i­cal trust, boost­ing prag­matic co­op­er­a­tion and strengthening col­lab­o­ra­tion on global af­fairs.

The t wo lead­ers also ex­changed views on re­gional and global is­sues, in­clud­ing Syria and the Korean Penin­sula, Xi said.

Xi ar­rived in Ber­lin on Tues­day for his sec­ond state visit to Ger­many. The first was in March 2014. It is the sec­ond stop of Xi’s Euro­pean tour, which also took him to Rus­sia. While in Ger­many, he will travel to Ham­burg to at­tend the G20 Sum­mit.

The pres­i­dent said that China and Ger­many will make joint ef­forts to push projects for­ward un­der the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and ex­plore third-party mar­kets, since the in­ter­con­nec­tion of Eura­sia will bring ma­jor op­por­tu­ni­ties.

In an early sig­nal, ma­jor Euro­pean air­craft man­u­fac­turer Air­bus an­nounced on Wed­nes­day that it had signed a deal with China Avi­a­tion Sup­plies Hold­ing Co to sup­ply 100 A320 and 40 A350 air­craft. The deal was valued at about $22.8 bil­lion.

Not­ing that the two coun­tries had signed a doc­u­ment to co­op­er­ate on a hy­dropower project in An­gola, Merkel said Ger­many is will­ing to par­tic­i­pate in such projects un­der the Belt and Road frame­work.

She also said Ger­many sup­ported push­ing for­ward ne­go­ti­a­tions to­ward an EU-China in­vest­ment treaty and will con­tinue to con­trib­ute to deep­en­ing EU-China co­op­er­a­tive ties.

Merkel also ex­pressed grat­i­tude for China’s sup­port of the G20 Sum­mit in Ham­burg.

Eco­nomic and trade re­la­tions be­tween Ger­many and China have reached a high level, not only with re­spect to goods but in tech­nol­ogy

The pres­ence of Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel at a Wed­nes­day youth soc­cer match fea­tur­ing play­ers from both coun­tries in­di­cates the lead­ers’ com­mit­ment to strengthening their soc­cer part­ner­ship, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior Ger­man soc­cer of­fi­cial. The match was held at Olympic Sta­dium in Ber­lin.

Friedrich Cur­tius, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the Ger­man Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, said the ex­hi­bi­tion match is part of a soc­cer camp or­ga­nized by both na­tions in Ber­lin for Chi­nese youth play­ers.

Cur­tius said both sides con­sider the camp an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of co­op­er­a­tion in tal­ent pro­mo­tion and ed­u­ca­tion.

“The in­ter­est shown by Xi Jin­ping and An­gela Merkel proves that both gov­ern­ments stand be­hind the two foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tions. We are very glad to re­ceive such an en­cour­age­ment, which serves as mo­ti­va­tion for us to con­tinue work­ing hard to achieve the co­op­er­a­tion project’s goals,” said Cur­tius.

China and Ger­many en­tered into a soc­cer part­ner­ship last year, and “putting our sig­na­tures on the part­ner­ship agree­ment was a great mo­ment,” he said.

“I am firmly con­vinced that we can make a ma­jor con­tri­bu­tion to­ward mak­ing Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s great Chi­nese foot­ball dream come true,” Cur­tius said.

Volker Heun, founder and CEO of In­vest in Foot­ball GmbH in Duesseldorf, said the soc­cer part­ner­ship shows the close­ness of the re­la­tion­ship, which has paved the way for Ger­many to help China be­come a soc­cer power by trans­fer­ring know-how.

“Un­der the na­tional frame­work of co­op­er­a­tion, I believe many new op­portu- ni­ties will oc­cur,” said Heun, also the au­thor of a book on China’s soc­cer and busi­ness, which has been trans­lated into Chi­nese.

Heun said he thinks train­ing young play­ers should be a cru­cial part of the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Ger­many, a coun­try that is suc­cess­ful in form­ing teams and iden­ti­fy­ing promis­ing play­ers.

“We must try to ex­plore op­por­tu­ni­ties by train­ing boys at age 7 or 8,” Heun said.

Heun and his busi­ness part­ners are launch­ing the Sino-Ger­man Foot­ball Academy for Youth Play­ers to do that. “We are in the process

The in­ter­est shown by Xi Jin­ping and An­gela Merkel proves that both gov­ern­ments stand be­hind the two foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tions.” Friedrich Cur­tius, sec­re­tary­gen­eral, Ger­man Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion

of se­lect­ing our Chi­nese in­vestors,” he said.

The academy will tar­get youths from sec­ond-tier leagues, soc­cer schools and sec­ond- or third-tier cities in China. “We are not go­ing to tar­get the first-tier leagues as they have al­ready forged sound ties with foot­ball pow­ers, and our strat­egy is to help those that are hid­den stand out,” Heun said.

Heun said the academy is ex­pected to open branches in both China and Ger­many to train 50 to 200 boys at a time.

ZHANG YUWEI / XIN­HUA

A Ger­man coach in­structs young play­ers at the China-Ger­many Foot­ball Friend­ship event in Bei­jing in June.

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