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Chinese premier holds talks with Merkel post victory
September 24, 2013, 8:53 am

[Getty Images]

Germany was the first EU country the Chinese premier (left) visited after assuming office [Getty Images]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held telephone talks on Tuesday with his German counterpart Angela Merkel in an attempt to strengthen cooperation between the two nations.

The Chinese leader said that encouraging progress had been made since his visit to Berlin in May.

Li also congratulated Chancellor Merkel on the victory of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Sunday’s federal election.

Despite Merkel’s conservative party winning the election they finished just short of an absolute majority.

Current coalition partner the Free Democrats suffered a humiliating exit from Parliament.

China appreciates the positive role Germany has played in facilitating a proper settlement of the China-EU trade dispute and stands ready to advance China-Germany relations, Li said on Tuesday.

Merkel was instrumental in assuring that Germany used its position of power within the EU to ensure that the China-EU talks were productive.

Germany is China’s largest trading partner in Europe while China is Germany’s in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Chinese premier voiced hope that Germany, as an important EU member, will continue to play a positive role in promoting the development of China-EU relations.

Bilateral trade reached an unprecedented high of $161.13 billion last year, accounting for 29.5 per cent of China-EU trade.

Merkel told Li that Germany is willing to work with China to boost the healthy development of Sino-German relations.

Li had said during his Germany trip earlier this summer that, “the significance of China-Germany ties goes quite beyond bilateral relations.”

Germany was the first EU country the Chinese premier visited after assuming office.

With inputs from Agencies