In wide-ranging discussion, Chinese and German leaders agree two countries’ relations are improving in several areas.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have held talks over video at a time when the European Union is trying to reduce its dependence on the world’s second-largest economy.
“China regards Europe as a comprehensive strategic partner and an important pole in a multipolar world,” state broadcaster CCTV reported Xi as telling Scholz on Friday.
“It is hoped that Germany will push the EU to uphold the principles of marketisation and fairness, and work with China to safeguard fair market competition and free trade,” he said.
The Chinese president also mentioned new policies aimed at encouraging foreign investment in China and “major steps” such as “lifting restrictions on foreign investment access in the manufacturing sector” and advancing further opening in “cross-border service trade and investment”.
Tensions between China and the EU are growing over issues including Beijing’s growing relationship with Russia as well as some of its unfair trade practices.
China is the EU’s second-largest trading partner, but the 27-nation bloc has also become more vocal about “de-risking” their political and economic exposure to the country.
In September, the European Commission launched an investigation into Chinese electric vehicle (EV) imports, which it says may benefit unfairly from state subsidies. The findings of the investigation could not only impact Chinese EVs, but also foreign EVs manufactured in China, such as Tesla and BMW.
The investigation is the most high-profile of its kind since the EU investigated solar panels in 2013.
As Europe’s largest economy, however, Germany has maintained more friendly relations with China than some of its EU counterparts thanks to its high volume of bilateral trade. Scholz was the first European leader to visit Beijing after Xi began a third and unprecedented term in office.
Xi spoke of this close relationship during his meeting with Scholz, describing the two countries as “responsible major powers” that must “develop bilateral relations well and set an example for win-win cooperation”, according to state media.
They also discussed the worsening international situation with the world grappling with the war in Gaza as well as Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Xi said China and Germany must safeguard the international order and multilateralism, and work together to address global challenges, according to state media.
In their meeting last November, both leaders jointly condemned threats of using nuclear weapons as the Ukraine-Russia conflict escalated.
This time they spoke a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed Moscow’s revocation of its ratification of the landmark global nuclear test ban treaty and amid Israel’s continuing bombardment of Gaza.
State media said Xi pointed out that “whether it is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or the Ukraine crisis, to solve the root cause, it is necessary to think more deeply about security issues and promote the construction of a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture”.