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German Chancellor Scholz lands in Beijing for one-day visit

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BEIJING — The plane carrying German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and a delegation of business leaders landed in Beijing on Friday morning, according to flight-tracking website RadarBox, kicking off the first visit by a leader of a G7 nation to China in three years.

China’s strict zero-COVID policy and growing tensions with the West have made it unfeasible for leaders of major western powers to visit China, while Chinese President Xi Jinping has only just resumed foreign trips.

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But amid the economic strain on Germany, mainly caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Scholz will be looking to emphasize the need for continued cooperation with China, analysts say.

Scholz will meet with Xi and outgoing Premier Li Keqiang, where he is also expected to raise controversial issues such as human rights, Taiwan and the difficulties German companies face accessing the Chinese market, according to government sources.

In the run-up to the visit, there had been criticism of the visit within the EU and the German government coalition, mainly from the Green Party and the Liberals. (Reporting by Andreas Lanke, Ryan Woo and Eduardo Baptista; Writing by Eduardo Baptista; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Kim Coghill)

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