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When Keqiang meets Merkel

Updated: 2015-10-28
By Lin Hanqing (chinadaily.com.cn)
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel will make an official visit to China from October 29 to 30. As Merkel is regarded as one of the most powerful women in the world, she does in many ways, share a deep and profound personal friendship with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

In March 2013, when Li took the oath of office, Merkel became the first national leader to congratulate Li over a phone call.

On May 26, 2013, when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was on a official visit to Germany, German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted a special welcome dinner at Schloss Meseberg, the palatial retreat used by German chancellors to entertain world leaders and personal close friends. German employment law restricts overtime at the weekend. But the federal police force and government staff members made a huge exception for Li Keqiang's visit which was on a Sunday.

It wasn't all business for Merkel as part of her state visit in July 2014. The German Chancellor took some time to sample the local cuisine, buying a bag of broad bean paste in an open market and learning to cook Kung Pao chicken at a local restaurant. Knowing Merkel's love for hot and spicy Sichuan cuisine, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made a last minute call to change the welcome dinner menu, adding a classic poached sliced beef in hot chili oil. The following day, Li took Merkel for a casual stroll at the Temple of Heaven.

Three months since their last meeting, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Germany again in October 2014. The two old friends attended 12 events that altogether last for 10 hours. Merkel took Li out shopping in a local supermarket after the meetings, introducing him to German products and recommending two postcards for him to send to his family.

Afterwards Premier Li Keqiang gave a traditional Chinese puzzle game called Lu Ban Lock to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a bilateral forum, saying he hoped the two countries can "solve difficulties with intelligence and expand their future".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will kick off her eighth official visit to China this week. During her stay, Premier Li Keqiang will take her to China's Anhui province which is known as Li's hometown. So any surprises awaiting for Merkel? Let's see.

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