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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Germany's Merkel Presses Chinese Prime Minister on Human Rights

By VOA News April 28, 2021

During a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a return to discussions on human rights, saying such consultations in the past have improved relations between their two nations.

The comments came during wide-ranging governmental consultations between Merkel and Li — held virtually due to the pandemic — on issues like the fight against the spread of the coronavirus, economic cooperation and other issues.

Merkel, who is not running for re-election, noted the regular consultations between the two countries during her nearly 16 years in power improved cooperation on issues from climate change to business. She said those talks at times covered areas of disagreement such as human rights and Hong Kong.

Merkel said, "Part of our partnership includes addressing difficult topics and putting everything on the table. Traditionally, the issue of human rights repeatedly plays a role and here, differences of opinion exist." She said in the past, they always succeeded in addressing those issues and, "I would wish that we can soon reinstall the human rights dialogue."

A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement acknowledged Beijing and Berlin have different views on some issues but did not mention a human rights dialogue. It called for mutual respect of core interests and communication on the basis of non-interference.

In the statement, Li said China and Germany should demonstrate "cooperation and unity" in their push for global economic recovery."

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