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China

Merkel bids China farewell at the end of trip to strengthen business ties

On the final day of her trip to China, German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech to students of Tsinghua University in Beijing. She cautioned against seeking economic growth at the expense of high debts.

Merkel's speech to the students came on Tuesday, the final day of her three-day trip through China with a German business delegation.

In her speech, Merkel argued that steady economic growth, even at a slow rate, was better than trying to force strong growth through borrowing.

"I am against growth that is financed on credit," Merkel was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying. "It's better to have the world economy grow less than to rely on devil-may-care growth [based on increased debt]."

Merkel cited slower economic growth in China as a logical development and as a case in point example to her message. She added that when China was doing well economically, the rest of the world benefited.

Sustainable development

The students in Beijing also heard an environmental message from Merkel, who called for future developments to be achieved sustainably. No global problems can be solved without China's involvement, Merkel said, and that these included issues pertaining to the environment and sustainable energy.

In order to achieve sustainable developments in the economy, Merkel said "democracy, the rule of law, and a social market economy" were necessary. She added that only a society that is "open, pluralistic, and provides freedom" can successfully tackle its future.

Prior to her speech to the students, Merkel attended a brief meeting with former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

She is scheduled to return to Germany on Tuesday, where she is expected to watch the German national team's World Cup semifinal match against Brazil.

mz/jr (dpa, Reuters)

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