Germany invites Chinese premier for talks in June – source

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has invited Chinese Premier Li Qiang for talks in Berlin on June 20, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

China’s State Council Information Office, which handles media queries on behalf of the central government, was not immediately available for comment. 

Scholz’s government is developing a new China strategy to reduce dependence on Asia’s economic superpower, a vital export market for German goods.

Scholz in November became the first leader from the Group of Seven countries (G7) to visit Beijing since the COVID-19 pandemic.

But points of friction remain, from Germany pressing for more access for its companies in the Chinese market and German misgivings about Chinese investment in critical infrastructure in Germany.

Scholz’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, last week described a recent trip to China as “more than shocking” and said it was becoming more of a systemic rival than a trade partner.

China in turn criticised as “vile” a trip by a German minister to Taiwan in March.

Scholz aims to enlist China as a key partner on challenges like peace and climate change while setting out red lines to any changes to the status quo in Taiwan, Bloomberg reported.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke, Ryan Woo and Bharat Govind Gautam; Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Robert Birsel)