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Merkel: Witness to the rise of a major power

Shortly before Xi: Merkel with President Hu Jintao in 2012. Back then, they had already known each other for seven years.

In the summer of 2005, political China began to take an interest in the German chancellor candidate. At the time, Angela Merkel was an unknown quantity in Beijing. She had been to China once in 1997 as minister of the environment under then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl but had left no lasting impression. So the question in Beijing was: What would the CDU do differently from SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder? The latter was considered pro-business and pro-China; among other things, he had advocated lifting the EU arms embargo imposed after the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. Merkel, on the other hand, saw no indications for corresponding conditions in the Bundestag in April 2005.

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