Merkel continues talks in China on trade and Iran

22nd May 2006, Comments 0 comments

22 May 2006, BEIJING - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that she saw "increasing openness" from China in human-rights discussions and said she and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao agreed that Iran should not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons.

22 May 2006

BEIJING - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that she saw "increasing openness" from China in human-rights discussions and said she and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao agreed that Iran should not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons.

"We talked about Iran, and both agreed Iran should not have the capability to make nuclear weapons and shouldn't proliferate weapons of mass destruction," Merkel told reporters after the talks in Beijing.

Merkel, who arrived Sunday on a 38-hour visit to China, said she raised human-rights issues in her three-hour discussions with Wen and promised that she would develop a regular dialogue with China on human rights.

"In our view, human rights are an indivisible and important part of our cooperation," Merkel said, adding, however, that there remained "differing perceptions" between the two countries on human rights.

Wen promised that China would protect the intellectual-property rights (IPR) of German firms after companies in the European Union have increasing complained of product piracy and technological theft.

"We've made a lot of efforts, but on IPR protection, we still face many problems," Wen said at a joint press conference with Merkel.

German government officials said other topics on Merkel's agenda were encouraging China to play a bigger role in resolving the crises over Iran and Sudan and raising the issue of revaluing China's renminbi currency.

The chancellor was scheduled to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao later Monday.

Early, she met Wen for a traditional Chinese breakfast of dim sum and corn soup in a small Beijing park.

The two leaders watched local residents practise tai chi, the slow, rhythmic movements still common as morning exercises in parks across China.

The chancellor said she also planned to meet with a group of Chinese civil society leaders Monday evening at the German ambassador's residence in Beijing.

Separately, Merkel is to meet a Catholic bishop to show support for the Vatican's efforts to restore ties to the Chinese state, which were severed in 1949.

After political talks in Beijing, Merkel is to travel Tuesday to Shanghai, where she was scheduled to make a speech at the German Chamber of Commerce and meet city officials before flying back to Germany.

Merkel is accompanied on her trip - her first to China as chancellor - by Economics Minister Michael Glos and a 45-member business delegation, and most of the 19 bilateral agreements signed Monday were business-related.

The largest agreement was between Siemens and China's Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Works to build 500 train engines.

Siemens also closed a deal with China Mobile for mobile phone network technology while Germany's STEAG agreed to provide gas-detection and related equipment for Chinese coal mines, which have a poor safety record and caused 6,000 deaths last year.

But a planned agreement with the German chemical giant BASF to expand its plant in China's Nanjing city was "not ready" to be signed on Monday, sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

And although Deutsche Bahn signed a cooperation agreement with the Chinese railway ministry to work together on building high-speed lines, there was no new agreement for the German Transrapid consortium, which hopes to win new contracts to provide magnetic levitation, or maglev, railway technology in China.

Negotiations were expected to continue into the night on a 160-kilometre expansion of the maglev line in Shanghai to Hangzhou, but the German government was not prepared, as China had hoped, to provide hundreds of millions of euros in subsidies for the project.

Merkel hailed an agreement between German and Chinese textile associations in which the Chinese group promised to expel firms engaged in counterfeiting.

The German software-maker SAP also signed an agreement on providing software to medium-sized businesses while Lufthansa agreed to take Air China into the Star Alliance.


Subject: German news

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