People in Europe and North America are ignorant of China's enormous historical achievements, said former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt.
Schmidt visited China in 1975 as the first German chancellor to do so
Addressing the Hamburg Summit, a meeting of business leaders from China and Germany, on Thursday, Sept. 11, the elder statesman said China had made vast economic progress over the past 30 years.
He and other speakers called on European nations to intensify dialogue with China and improve relations, despite criticism in the West of China's human-rights policies, especially its controversial crackdown on protesters in Tibet this year.
France's Foreign Trade Minister Anne-Marie Idrac said the European Union was determined to step up investment in China as much as possible.
A Chinese vice-premier, Zhang Dejiang, arrived in Hamburg the day before the meeting.
Over the next two weeks, Hamburg will be holding cultural events marking the 22nd anniversary of its twin-city agreement with the Chinese city of Shanghai.