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Merkel lands in China to talk Syria, trade

Germany's leader has landed in China. In a visit meant to focus on business ties, Angela Merkel is also expected to press the Chinese leadership on using its relationship with Russia to help resolve the Syria crisis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Beijing on Thursday, flanked by 20 business leaders for a trip that

will focus on boosting economic ties

as well as China's role in international crises.

One of the industry heavyweights accompanying the German leader in none other than newly minted Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller, who is expected to speak about the emissions scandal plaguing the world's second-largest carmaker.

Merkel was greeted by Premier Li Keqiang upon landing, and was scheduled to hold talks with

President Xi Jinping

later in the day. On Friday, she will join Li on a visit to the city of Hefei in the eastern province of Anhui, where the chancellor will meet a local family and tour a village school. It marks the first time Li has invited a foreign leader to his home province.

Watch video 02:21

China's stalling economic growth

Friday will also see Merkel attend a meeting of German and Chinese business leaders. The two countries have a long history of diplomatic and economic relations, with the German Chamber of Commerce in China reporting record bilateral trade in 2014.

As Germany struggles to handle its large influx of migrants, many of whom are refugees fleeing war-torn Syria, Merkel is also expected to bring up the conflict with the Chinese leaders. It presents an opportunity for Chancellor Merkel to press Beijing on using its strong relationship with Moscow, a staunch supporter of embattled President Bashar al-Assad, to help resolve the conflict.

es/bw (AFP, dpa)

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