China's Xi Singles Out Germany as Global Ally in Pre-G-20 Op-Ed

  • Chinese president due in Berlin for advance talks with Merkel
  • With U.S. retreating, Xi cites Germany as strategic partner

Xi Jinping and Angela Merkel.

Photographer: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for closer cooperation with Germany in shaping the global order, marking out Chancellor Angela Merkel as an ally on free trade at this week’s Group of 20 summit.

“The strategic character of Chinese-German relations is steadily gaining in importance,” Xi said in an op-ed article published Tuesday in German newspaper Die Welt, citing data showing that China became Germany’s most important trade partner in 2016. “We hope that the G-20 will continue to uphold the great goal of an open world economy.”

Germany and China “should intensify cooperation on implementing China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ and jointly make contributions to the security, stability and prosperity of neighboring countries,” Xi said in the article, three days before Merkel hosts him, President Donald Trump, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and other leaders of G-20 nations in Hamburg for a two-day summit she says will be contentious.

With Trump retreating from post-1945 U.S. leadership on global issues, China and Germany -- the world’s No. 1 and No. 3 exporters -- have an opening to fill the void. At a series of meetings since January, both have taken stands against the U.S. administration protectionist agenda and recommitted to the Paris climate accord shortly before Trump said he was pulling out.

It’s in everybody’s interest for the G-20, which groups the biggest advanced and emerging economies, to “remain an essential forum for international economic cooperation,” Xi said in the article. Germany and China should create “open investment conditions in both directions, characterized by fair competition,” he said.

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