Cultural, human exchanges highlight Li-Merkel trip to Anhui
Update Time:2015-11-30

HEFEI, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday accompanied German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province, Li's home province.

It was the first time that Li accompanied a foreign leader to visit a city outside the capital as the premier.

In the morning, they toured Hefei University, which was jointly founded by Anhui Province and the German state of Lower Saxony in 1985. The university has maintained exchanges with 17 German higher-learning institutions and has seen frequent exchanges of Chinese and German teachers and students over the past 30 years.

Calling the university a great model of China-Germany cooperation, Li said China is speeding up development of its vocational education and expressed hopes to learn from Germany in this regard.

Li said he and Merkel agreed to set up a demonstration base for China-Germany educational cooperation at Hefei University, in the hope of cultivating more talent through vocational education to boost Chinese entrepreneurship.

Merkel said she was confident in the future of bilateral youth exchanges and educational cooperation, vowing to encourage more cooperation between the two countries' local governments.

The two leaders tasted German-style black beers brewed by students of the university.

China and Germany have in recent years attached great importance to cultural and people-to-people exchanges. On Thursday, the two leaders agreed to further enhance local and youth cooperation and announced the year of 2016 the China-Germany youth exchange year.

On Friday afternoon, Merkel went to the Shenfu village of the Dawei County some 30 km to the south of Hefei, where she visited the home of a local vegetable farmer and had a casual chat with the family.

She also visited a primary school at the Dawei County, attended a grade-2 math class and watched the training of a group of eight-year-old football players.

Sources close to the arrangement of Merkel's Hefei visit told Xinhua that Merkel had expressed willingness to visit Li's hometown when she met Li during her China trip last year.

Merkel had visited six big Chinese cities apart from Beijing in her past seven visits. She then told Li she wished to see Chinese villages, and Anhui, the origin of China's rural reform in the late 1970s, was a right option to know the country's rural life, the sources said.

Also on Friday, Li and Merkel attended a seminar with business leaders from both countries.

Li told the business leaders that despite the slowdown of China's economic growth, the country still boasts great potential in domestic demand, especially in central and western regions.

Calling China one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world, Li said foreign enterprises including Germany companies enjoy a bright prospect on cooperating with China.

On Friday night, Merkel left Hefei, concluding her two-day official visit.

It was the German chancellor's eighth China visit, making her the most frequent visitor to China among Western leaders.


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