During his two day trip, Foreign Minister Maas met with Vice President Wang Qishan, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Deputy Premier Liu He and others.
His talks covered bilateral and economic relations, cooperation on international issues such as the Iranian nuclear agreement and international disarmament, as well as the human rights situation in China.
This was Heiko Maas’s first visit to China as Foreign Minister. Before his departure, he had stressed how important cooperation with China is:
China is more than just our chief trading partner in Asia. It’s clear that solutions to many of the world’s problems can only be found by working with China. That is why we have a strategic interest in strong and robust channels of communication with Beijing.
Focus on bilateral and economic issues
A strategic partnership has been in place between Germany and China since 2004. This was upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2014. Intergovernmental consultations have been held regularly since 2011, the most recent session in July 2018. The two countries have agreed to a further intensification of bilateral consultations, including in the field of multilateral cooperation in the United Nations.
China is also Germany’s biggest trading partner worldwide, with a volume of trade totalling 186.6 billion euros in 2017, the second time in a row that China took first place ahead of the Netherlands and the US. The trip to Beijing will also seek to build yet further on these business relations. Advances in the spread of digital technology could perhaps lead to further cooperation. Reducing Chinese restrictions on market access for foreign companies will also play an important role in the talks. Foreign Minister Maas is accompanied by a German business Delegation.
Tackling international challenges together
Maas also talked about how Germany and China could cooperate better to help solve global problems. Prior to his departure, he said:
This relates particularly to issues that we want to champion in the UN Security Council, such as strengthening the role of humanitarian aid workers or addressing problems related to climate Change.
Other examples included preserving the Iranian nuclear agreement, which both Germany and China have signed, as well as addressing the political situation in North Korea, cooperation in the United Nations, and involving China more closely in the international disarmament regime. Foreign Minister Maas also raised issues concerning human rights in China