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Tuesday, 9 April, 2002, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
China's Jiang on sensitive mission
Jiang Zemin arriving in Germany
In Germany, Mr Jiang's main focus will be trade
Chinese President Jiang Zemin has set out on a politically-sensitive world trip that takes in Libya and Iran, both labelled by Washington as state sponsors of terrorism.

President Jiang's first stop is Germany, China's biggest European investor, where he will mark the 30th anniversary of the two countries' diplomatic relations.

Chinas President Jiang Zemin, left, is welcomed by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
The visit marks 30 years of relations
In addition to strengthening trade and technological exchanges, the Chinese leader discussed the future of the international coalition against terrorism with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Germany was expected to raise concerns over China's human rights record, although the BBC's correspondent in Berlin, Rob Broomby, says publicly-expressed criticism is unlikely.

President Jiang will follow his meeting with Chancellor Schroeder with a visit to Wolfsburg in the west of the country - the headquarters of German car maker Volkswagen, one of the biggest German investors in China.

The Chinese president told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that he planned to extend a joint venture with the company.

Controversial itinerary

The controversial legs of the trip - likely to be President Jiang's last overseas tour before his expected retirement as Communist Party chief later this year - are to Iran and Libya.

Jiang on tour
8 - 21 April
Germany - 2 days
Libya - 2 days
Nigeria - 3 days
Tunisia - 1 night
Iran - 5 days

Chinese Foreign Ministry officials says the visits are "normal extensions of their relations".

But the visits are likely to worry Washington, which accuses China of selling them arms technology.

President Jiang will also visit Nigeria and Tunisia.

"The mix reduces the sensitivity of the trip," Chinese political analyst Yan Xuetong of Beijing's Tsinghua University told Reuters news agency.

See also:

11 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
China attacks US military role
27 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
China's rising star takes world stage
21 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Apec unites against terrorism
19 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Terrorism war unites Bush and Jiang
21 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Profile: Jiang Zemin
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