Chinese Premier Li Qiang started a visit to Germany and France on Monday, as Europe aims to balance concerns over economic dependence on China and its stance toward Ukraine and Taiwan.
During his first trip abroad since taking office, Li a former Communist Party secretary for Shanghai, was received by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. He is also set to meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and their German counterparts on Tuesday.
Following his visit to Germany, Li will head to Franc to attend a “Summit for a New Global Financing Pact” that is being held at French President Emmanuel Macron’s initiative.
In Germany’s first national security strategy, presented last week, the government highlighted that it views China as “a partner, competitor, and systemic rival.”
It says that “elements of rivalry and competition have increased in recent years; at the same time China remains a partner without which many of the most pressing global challenges can’t be solved.”
On his part, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wengbin said China looks forward to “sending positive signals to the world to strengthen dialogue and cooperation” and joining to address challenges “so as to promote the prosperity and development of the world economy.”
Wang indicated that the choice of Germany as Li’s first stop “fully reflects the high importance China attaches to China-Germany relations.”