China and Germany should work together to foster good relations between Beijing and the European Union without any interference by a third party, President Xi Jinping told Germany's president in a phone call on Tuesday, state media reported.
Xi was also quoted by state broadcaster CCTV as telling Frank-Walter Steinmeier that China hopes Germany can provide a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory operating environment for Chinese enterprises in Germany, the EU's largest market.
"Leading the healthy and stable development of China-EU relations is a direction that China and Germany should work together for," Xi said, according to CCTV.
"China supports the strategic autonomy of the EU and hopes that the European side will adhere to the basic positioning of China and Europe as strategic partners..., and to the principle that China-EU relations are not targeted, not dependent, and not subject to a third party," he said.
Beijing and Berlin reached an agreement earlier this month on providing "German vaccines" to German nationals in China, after Scholz said that BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine would be used by German expatriates there.
Last month, a German government spokesperson said Berlin was working to ensure cooperation between BioNTech and its Chinese partner on a COVID-19 vaccine moves forward.
BioNTech would be the first non-Chinese coronavirus vaccine to be administered in China as Beijing has hitherto insisted on administering domestically produced vaccines.
(Reporting by Ella Cao and Meg Shen, editing by Mark Heinrich)