China, Germany to jointly defend multilateralism and free trade

China is willing to work with Germany to defend multilateralism and free trade, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said over a phone call Wednesday night with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel will pay a two-day official visit to China from Friday at the invitation of Premier Li.

Li welcomed Merkel's 12th visit to China, adding that both sides are facing common challenges as international situation is undergoing profound and complicated changes.

Two sides should enhance mutual trust and deepen partnership to promote the healthy development of bilateral ties, he stressed.

As chancellor, Merkel has made 11 trips to China, respectively in May 2006, August 2007, October 2008, July 2010, February 2012, August 2012, July 2014, October 2015, June 2016, September 2016, and May 2018.

She hoped her coming visit would send a positive signal of healthy bilateral relations in the face of a complicated international situation.

Germany attaches importance to its relations with China and that she hopes her upcoming visit will help deepen Germany's relationship with China, the German chancellor added.

China remained Germany's largest trading partner for the third consecutive year with the trade volume reached with a total trade volume of 199.3 billion euros (225.7 billion U.S. dollars) in 2018.