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Diplomacy

Chinese premier Li Keqiang arrives in Berlin

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang has arrived in Berlin as part of his first foreign tour as premier. Germany is the only country in the EU that Li is set to visit, with trade issues likely to be a key issue for debate.

The Chinese delegation, including recently-appointed premier Li Keqiang, arrived in the German capital on Saturday.

Germany is the only one of the EU's 27 member states that Li is to visit on his maiden foreign tour, which has also included India, Pakistan and Switzerland.

No events were organized for Saturday evening, with Li's first official engagement on Sunday, when he is to visit the Cecilienhof palace in Potsdam, where Soviet, US and British leaders met at the end of World War II. There, he is expected to talk about foreign policy issues.

Later, the premier is scheduled to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel. The two leaders have met previously, when Merkel visited Beijing before Li assumed office.

Merkel is understood to have enjoyed a good relationship with Li's predecessor Wen Jiabao. A recent trade dispute between the EU and China is seen as a likely central theme of discussions.

On Sunday evening, Li is due to attend a meeting with German President Joachim Gauck at the Bellevue Palace.

The last thing on Li's itinerary is a meeting with 94-year-old former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt on Monday. In April Schmidt published his newest book on China entitled "Ein letzter Besuch" ("A final visit").

rc/msh (dpa, AFP)