German Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting China for the first time since she replaced Gerhard Schroeder six months ago. Subjects likely to be broached during talks include the Chinese currency – the Yuan – , the country’s human rights record, and the Iranian nuclear question, as China and Russia have been taking a more lenient stance than Western powers on this issue.
In a departure from China’s usually solemn protocol, Merkel’s visit got off to a relaxed start, with an early morning walk in a Beijing park with Wen Jiabao. The pair stopped to chat with locals doing their morning tai chi exercises. This before heading to discuss weightier matters with the Chinese president Hu Jintao in the nearby Great Hall of the People.