2008-01-22 23:24:19 China Daily
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R) and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi gesture after a media statement in Berlin January 22, 2008. Steinmeier and Yang Jiechi addressed the media before talks. [Agencies]
BERLIN - The German foreign minister declared after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart yesterday that "our relationship can now return to normal".
Frank-Walter Steinmeier described the morning meeting with Yang Jiechi - ahead of a six-nation meet on the Iranian nuclear issue - as "a positive signal" in Chinese-German ties.
China values its relations with Germany and is willing to "look forward" to extend bilateral ties, Yang said after the meeting.
"We believe China and Germany share similar views on many international issues," Yang said.
Speaking to reporters before their talks, Steinmeier reiterated the German government's adherence to the one-China policy and urged both sides to adopt a "forward-looking" attitude in handling bilateral relations.
Bilateral relations were strained after German Chancellor Angela Merkel met the Dalai Lama in September. The months since that meeting "were not easy for German-Chinese relations", Steinmeier said.
He called on both sides to continue rebuilding mutual trust and resume the exchange of high-level visits.
At a regular briefing yesterday in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said China hopes Germany "always honors its commitment" made to China on the Taiwan and Tibet issues and take China's concerns seriously.
The German side had "stated explicitly" to China that it would continue to adhere to the one-China policy, and that it recognizes Taiwan and Tibet as inalienable parts of Chinese territory, Jiang said.
She noted that both sides had made great efforts in the past four months to overcome diplomatic tensions, and the foreign ministers of the two countries had communicated with each other many times.
Germany opposes a "referendum on UN membership" by the Taiwan authorities, and it would give neither support nor encouragement to any attempt at seeking "Tibetan independence", Jiang said.
Merkel's meeting with the Dalai Lama led to growing domestic pressure over her diplomatic policies.
Steinmeier, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), had accused her of pushing forward with "showcase diplomacy".
German weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported on Monday that Steinmeier had exchanged letters with his Chinese counterpart to repair soured relations.
German business leaders have also aired concerns over the frayed diplomatic ties. In December, Federation of German Industry President Juergen Thumann urged Merkel to maintain a China policy "aimed at partnership and mutual respect".
"Following the friction over recent weeks, we need constructive dialogue," Thumann said.
(China Daily - Agencies)