China and Germany have taken their ties beyond politics and the economy. They are also deepening relations and collaboration in soccer.
China has an ambition to be a footballing power and is pushing for all round football cooperation with the soccer power house, Germany, which for now are World Cup and Confederations Cup champions.
Football relations between the two nations came to the fore as visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday watched a football match between Chinese and German youth teams, encouraging young players to foster friendship.
“You are the future of the Chinese and German football,” Xi told the Chinese footballers and their German peers before the friendly match kicked off in Olympiastadion Berlin, a world-famous sports stadium.
“I hope you can develop the hardworking spirit, learn from each other, and maintain close friendship,” said Xi.
Merkel welcomed the Chinese president and his wife, Peng Liyuan, before they met German football dignitaries on the field. The leaders also watched a photo exhibition on football cooperation between the two countries’ schools.
After the match, Xi pointed out that China and Germany are advancing football cooperation and that it is a systematic project to improve football skills.
China is willing to push for all-round football cooperation with Germany, said Xi, adding that with joint efforts, the two countries will harvest more fruits from the cooperation.
Xi arrived in Berlin Tuesday afternoon for a state visit to the European country, where he will also attend a G20 summit in the German port city of Hamburg.