Visit by defense minister to Beijing expected to increase strategic trust
The Chinese and German militaries will deepen cooperation, communication and coordination in efforts to jointly safeguard regional and global peace and security, senior military officials said on Monday.
General Xu Qiliang, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, said in a meeting with German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Monday that friendly Sino-German relations go back a long time. Von der Leyen is the first German defense minister to visit China since 2010.
Experts said von der Leyen's visit will increase strategic trust between the two countries, and the two militaries can work together to curb cybersecurity threats, piracy and other global issues.
Xu said President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have maintained frequent and constructive communication in recent years, pushing the Sino-German comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to new heights.
The Chinese military is willing to work with its German counterparts to develop military-to-military relations based on long-term strategic goals and planning, Xu said.
China will also deepen cooperation to improve bilateral military ties, enhance coordination with Germany on international and multilateral programs, and jointly maintain regional and world peace and security, Xu added.
Von der Leyen said Sino-German military relations are a key component of bilateral ties, and Germany attaches great importance to developing these ties. Germany is also committed to developing the strategic cooperative partnership with China to jointly contribute to world peace and security, she added.
The German side will further deepen exchanges across various levels between the two militaries, and strengthen cooperation in peacekeeping, medical support, military research and other fields, she said.
On Monday afternoon, State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe met with von der Leyen and said Sino-German military relations serve as a prime model for China's military relations with other European countries.
China is willing to deepen practical cooperation, enhance interaction and exchanges under multilateral frameworks, and push Sino-German military relation to new heights, Wei said.
Von der Leyen said China and Germany both uphold multilateralism and rule-based international order. Germany is willing to expand military cooperation with China, thus enriching the strategic cooperative partnership with new substance.
Zheng Chunrong, director of the Institute of German Studies at Tongji University in Shanghai, said von der Leyen's visit can send a positive signal to the European Union that China is willing to work with its member nations to jointly improve capabilities in tackling global issues, such as cybersecurity threats and maritime piracy.
"The German military is very capable in medical logistics, postwar reconstruction, and managing civic emergencies and conflicts－all fields China can learn much from," he said. However, past military cooperation between Chinese and European militaries was primarily information exchanges due to lack of mutual political trust.
"Von der Leyen's visit will increase mutual understanding and trust, which is beneficial to finding a breakthrough in exploring concrete means to deepen China-European military relations," he said.