Flags of China and Germany are seen during an expo in Shanghai, March 14, 2017. (PHOTO / IC)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel starts her two-day official visit to China today. This is Merkel's 12th visit to China as chancellor.
With bilateral ties strengthening in recent years, let's take a look at some highlights of high-level exchanges, pragmatic cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.
China and Germany established diplomatic ties in October 1972.
The prime ministerial-level annual meeting mechanism was set up in May 2004.
China and Germany agreed to establish a government consultation mechanism in July 2010.
China-German relations were upgraded to all-round strategic partnership in March 2014.
Bilateral high-level meetings in 2019
President Xi Jinping meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of a global governance forum co-hosted by China and France in Paris, March 26, 2019. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
On March 26, 2019, President Xi Jinping met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris and put forward a three-point proposal on the further development of China-Germany relations.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of a global governance forum co-hosted by China and France.
China-Germany practical cooperation has maintained a sound momentum of development despite an increase of volatility and uncertainty in the current international situation, Xi said.
President Xi Jinping shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
On June 28, 2019, President Xi Jinping met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel with both sides calling for upholding multilateralism.
During a meeting on the sidelines of a summit of the Group of 20 major economies in the Japanese city of Osaka, the two leaders also agreed to discuss cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and strive for conclusion of the negotiations on the China-European Union bilateral investment treaty next year.
Economic and trade cooperation
Apart from stable political relationship, China and Germany share strong trade and economic ties, with both economies becoming highly complementary.
The bilateral trade volume reached US$183.88 billion in 2018 with year-on-year growth of 9.4 percent, according to data published in China.
China remained Germany's largest trading partner for a third consecutive year in 2018. Germany has been China's largest trading partner in Europe for 44 years.
China's economic restructuring and its booming market keeps on creating opportunities for German enterprises, while Germany's advanced facilities and managerial experience can in turn assist China's industrial upgrading.
Guests from China and Germany visit the German Center for Industry and Trade in Taicang, Jiangsu province of China, June 2, 2016. (PHOTO / VCG)
Germany is the European Union's biggest investor in China. By the end of 2018, Germany directly invested in 10,272 projects in China, and the German side invested US$33.39 billion in areas such as automobile, chemical industry, power generation equipment, transportation, steel, communication, etc.
According to China's Ministry of Commerce, China's accumulated non-financial direct investment in Germany was US$13.49 billion by the end of 2018. In 2018, China's non-financial direct investment to Germany added US$1.33 billion.
The Sino-German Artificial Intelligence Cooperation Center and the Sino-German Artificial Intelligence Accelerated Incubation Center hold an unveiling ceremony in Shanghai, April 17, 2019.(PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINADAILY.COM.CN)
Germany occupies the top spot among European countries in terms of technology transfer to China.
As of the end of 2018, China signed with Germany a total of US$82.53 billion worth of 24,476 technology transfer contracts.
Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative
Cargo containers of China Railway Express are seen at Duisburg Intermodal Terminal (DIT) in Duisburg, western Germany, April 16, 2018. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
The city of Duisburg is regarded as China's gateway to Europe. Every week, about 30 freight trains from China arrive at Duisburg's inland port, delivering clothes, toys and hi-tech electronics from Wuhan, Chongqing and other major manufacturing centers in China. Cars, wine, whisky, luxury clothing and other European goods make the return journey.
German cities such as Duisburg and Hamburg have benefited a lot from the Belt and Road Initiative, and their stories have spurred the enthusiasm of all levels of government, economic circles and especially small enterprises in Germany to join the BRI.
China will actively promote Sino-German cooperation in third-party markets along the BRI routes and combine the complementary advantages of the two countries with local development needs in a bid to benefit each other, Chinese Ambassador to Germany Wu Ken has said.
Cultural and people-to-people exchanges
The China-Germany high-level people-to-people exchange dialogue mechanism was officially launched in May 2017. The mechanism is to deepen cooperation in education, science, technology, culture, youth, political parties, think tanks, media, and promote personnel exchanges between both countries and cooperation in tourism.
The six-year-old giant panda Meng Meng, sent by China to Germany in 2017 together with male panda Jiao Qing, gave birth to twin panda cubs, the first-ever panda cubs born in Germany on Sunday Beijing time.
President Xi Jinping opened Berlin Zoo's Panda Garden with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during his state visit to Germany in 2017.
Meng Meng and Jiao Qing were presented to Germany as part of a 15-year conservation and breeding program.
Performers from Hubei province dance at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Germany-China Hubei Cultural Festival in Berlin, on April 13, 2018. (PHOTO / VCG)
The two countries signed the Agreement on Cultural Exchange in 1979. Since then, frequent activities have been conducted in cultural contacts, artistic expositions and commercial performances.
For example, the Chinese Culture Center opened in Berlin in 2008 providing a window for exchanges and mutual understanding; Activities were held in more than 40 cities in Germany during the 2012-2013 Chinese Culture Year; China and Germany held many activities for the Language Year in 2013; and the year 2016 was called the China-German Youth Exchange Year.
People visit a booth in the exhibition area for Germany during the 2015 China Education Expo in Shanghai, on Oct 31, 2015. (PHOTO / IC)
By the end of 2018, Chinese students studying in Germany had exceeded 36,900, according to a German report, the largest group of foreign students in the country. There are about 30,000 German experts in China and 8,200 German students as well.
By the end of June 2019, there were 19 Confucius Institutes and two Confucius Classrooms in Germany.
The Goethe-Institute is Germany's worldwide cultural institute. Established in 1988, its Beijing branch was the earliest overseas cultural organization in China.
The two countries signed a mutual recognition agreement on higher education qualifications in April 2002, the first of its kind signed by China and a developed western country.
A Chinese tourist laughs after posing for a picture in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Feb 2, 2017. (PHOTO / IC)
READ MORE: China, Germany build mutual trust
First Chinese tour groups set off for Germany in February 2003.
About 643,700 Germans visited China in 2018, and Germany is China's largest source of travelers from the EU.
In 2018, 786,000 Chinese mainland residents chose Germany as their first stop abroad.
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