Xi's visits to Russia, Germany to boost global economic cooperation

Xi's visits to Russia, Germany to boost global economic cooperation

Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming tour to Russia and Germany is expected to inject positive energy into China-Europe relations and the global economy. Xi will pay state visits to Russia and Germany from July 3 to 6, and attend the 12th G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7 and 8. Political analysts believe the visits will bring more assurances in tackling global economic uncertainty. As China.org.cn writes in its article Xi's visits to Russia, Germany to boost global economic cooperation, the visit will be Xi's sixth tour to Russia since taking office and the 21st time to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It will also mark the third time the two heads of states have met this year.

"The close working relations between the two heads of states and their personal friendship has become a 'locomotive' in the development of bilateral relations between China and Russia," said Chen Yurong, a senior researcher in Eurasian studies at the China Institute of International Studies. "They can exchange views on almost everything, which reflects the high levels of political trust between the two countries," Chen said. In recent years, the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has enjoyed continuous and robust development. Such a partnership is a more elevated relationship China holds with some countries. During the visit, the two leaders will map out the direction and goals for developing bilateral ties and further deepen political mutual trust. The two sides will also sign a joint statement and approve the 2017-2020 implementation outline for the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation. The two countries are facing great opportunities to promote pragmatic cooperation in various fields amid their ongoing efforts in aligning the Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union, a strategic consensus the two sides had reached in 2015. In the first five months of this year, the trade volume between China and Russia increased by 26 percent to 32.4 billion U.S. dollars, and China has remained Russia's largest trading partner for years."This visit is of great significance," especially at a time when global economic recovery is still sluggish and international situation is complex and volatile, said Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui. Li said that Xi's visit to Russia will surely "inject new impetus to the development of bilateral relations" and provide new programs for regional economic integration.

Days ahead of Xi's upcoming visit to Germany, giant pandas Meng Meng and Jiao Qing received a celebrity welcome in Berlin after a long flight from China. "Panda diplomacy" is a vivid reflection of the robust growth of China-Germany relations. Trust between the two sides has reached new highs since the relationship was lifted to a comprehensive strategic partnership in March 2014. For example, Beijing and Berlin have set up more than 70 bilateral consultation and cooperation mechanisms. During Xi's visit, he will meet with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Xi will also hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, attend the opening ceremony of Berlin Zoo's "Panda Garden," and watch a football match between Chinese and German youth teams.

The economies of China and Germany are highly complementary. In 2016, China for the first time became Germany's largest trading partner and bilateral trade volume reached 151.29 billion U.S. dollars. The two countries are expected to unleash greater potential of the mutually beneficial cooperation as they seek to align the "Made in China 2025" plan with Germany's "Industry 4.0" concept. "Germany is a core country in the European Union (EU), and it is also the largest economy in Europe," said Cui Hongjian, director of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies. Cui said that strengthened communication and cooperation between China and Germany, both of which are major global economies and staunch supporters of globalization, is of great significance to expanding bilateral relations.

Hamburg's port is known as Germany's gateway to the world. On 7-8 July, the city will gather leaders of the G20 economies for an annual summit, this time under the theme "shaping an interconnected world." In Hamburg, the participants will cover a whole range of topics such as the global economy, trade and finance, climate change, development, and the digital economy. This year's G20 summit arrives at a time of both good and bad news concerning the present global economic situation. The good news is that all G20 members are expected to achieve this year positive economic growth for the first time since the 2008 global financial crisis. The bad news is that global economy still lacks impetus for a robust recovery, and that is coupled with rising protectionism, as well as increasing geopolitical risks and policy uncertainties.

In their telephone conversation this March, Xi told Merkel that his country is willing to work with Germany to ensure the Hamburg summit, just like the Hangzhou summit held in China last year, sends out a clear and positive signal for stronger global economic cooperation and governance. At the summit, Xi is expected to call for strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth of the world economy. On the sidelines of the meeting, the Chinese leader will host an informal meeting of the leaders of the BRICS countries, and hold meetings with leaders of a number of nations.

Last year at the G20 Hangzhou summit, Xi proposed building an "innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy," while the participants have reached important consensus on ways to boost global economic growth that stress long-term views, greater openness, and inclusive development.

Worthy of noting is that the theme of this year's summit and that of the last share the word "interconnected." It shows that the two succeeding gatherings have demonstrated a sense of continuity. Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of China Institute of International Studies, said "the spirit of partnership upheld by the G20 bloc is being challenged by some member economies' beggar-thy-neighbor actions. If protectionism is allowed to spread unchecked, then global common interests will be harmed.It is very urgent now to continue implementing what has been agreed at the Hangzhou summit," he added.

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