BEIJING, Sep. 6 (Reuters / EP) –
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that she discussed the situation in Hong Kong with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, who has moved to a peaceful solution for the former British colony.
In a press conference with Merkel in Beijing, the head of the Chinese Government has said that his country wants to prevent the riots in Hong Kong, which has been living for almost three months a series of demonstrations against the decision of the Hong Kong Government to push for a law which would allow the extradition of suspects to the Chinese mainland.
The leader of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, announced Thursday the definitive withdrawal of the extradition law and this Friday has said that this decision is a first step to try to end the mobilizations through dialogue with the opposition and activists.
In his appearance, Merkel has also said that he is confident of an early resolution of the trade war between China and the United States. The head of the German Government has launched these messages on the first day of a three-day visit to Beijing with the agenda focused on trade and Human Rights.
Germany's economy is on the verge of recession after a decline in the second quarter of the year due to the decline in exports. At the same time, the Chinese economy is growing at its slowest level in the last three decades due to the impact of US tariffs.
Merkel, who heads a delegation with a large presence of entrepreneurs in Beijing, has also said that he is confident that the investment agreement between the United States and China will be completed soon.
The German chancellor has said that relations between China and Germany have a solid foundation and, although there are still some divergences and clashes, the two countries are working to solve them.
Early on Friday, Merkel has been received with military honors by the Chinese prime minister in the Great Hall of the People. The two leaders have remained seated during the ceremony, after Merkel suffered tremors at similar receptions elsewhere.
Merkel plans to have dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday to continue the agenda in Wuhan on Saturday with a meeting with business representatives and students from Huazhong University. In addition to trade, Human Rights will have an important role in the Merkel travel agenda.
Before traveling to Beijing, the protest leaders in Hong Kong requested a meeting with Merkel during their visit to China. Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, has said the chancellor does not plan to meet with the leaders of the demonstrations.
The German Government has asked protesters to bet on dialogue with Beijing to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. Merkel usually addresses Human Rights issues during her travels to China, so she is expected to talk with Li about Hong Kong.
The Chinese government has prevented foreign correspondents from accessing the Merkel and Li press conference convened for Friday, a detonating gesture that tries to ensure that media attention does not focus on the Hong Kong crisis or the situation of Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
Sources from the German delegation have said that the restriction of access to the foreign press to Merkel's press conference with Li is “incomprehensible” and does not align with international standards.