Chinese Premier to Meet Scholz

Chinese Premier Li Qiang
China's newly-elected Premier Li Qiang takes an oath after being elected during the fourth plenary session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on March 11, 2023. GREG BAKER/Pool via REUTERS

Chinese Premier Li Qiang began his official visit to Germany today (06.19.2023) with a meeting with the country’s President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, prior to the intergovernmental consultations that he will chair with Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

This is Li’s first visit to Berlin since he took office last March. His work schedule for him in the German capital will be heavily focused on economic and commercial aspects. Li will meet this afternoon at the Foreign Ministry with Scholz, with whom he will have dinner afterward. As early as Tuesday, the German-Chinese intergovernmental consultations will take place, in which several ministers from both countries participate.

After the meetings in plenary or at the level of the respective ministers of the consultations, there will be a meeting with businessmen who will be attended, on the German side, by the Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Climate Protection, the environmentalist Robert Habeck.

The objective of the consultations is to maintain “a productive exchange” with the Asian giant, said on Friday the deputy spokesman for the German government, Wolfgang Büchner, when officially announcing the visit, which comes after Scholz himself and the headlines last week of four of its Ministries -Foreign, Defense, Interior and Finance- will present the comprehensive security plan, which aims to shield Germany in aspects ranging from the military to cyberattacks and espionage. On that occasion, the Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock , stated that Beijing poses a “growing risk” to regional stability and international security.

For his part, the chancellor has defended both at the German level, the G7 and the European Union (EU) the need not to “decouple” economically from China.

Li’s trip to Germany is part of a European tour, which he will complete in France, Chinese government sources had previously reported. The Chinese premier will participate in the so-called Summit for a New Global Financing Deal in Paris. Li’s European tour coincides with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to China.