German Minister of Education and Research Annette Schavan met Monday with her Chinese counterpart Wan Gang in Beijing at the start of a five-day visit. ( dpa )
She was due to hold talks later with Education Minister Zhou Ji.
An agreement on expanding German-Chinese cooperation in research and education may yet be signed during the visit which has been overshadowed by the crisis surrounding Tibet.
Speaking to reporters in Beijing, Schavan urged the Chinese leadership to hold talks with Tibet's leader, the Dalai Lama, saying an "indication of dialogue" was important before the Olympic Games.
Schavan is the first member of the German government to visit China since the troubles in Tibet broke out last month.
Schavan pointed out that the cooperation used to come under development aid, but noted that Germany and China were now competitors.
Her task was to find a "new structure for cooperation" such as Chinese involvement in large-scale projects.
Agreements especially on climate change, environmental technology, health research as well as geoscience and marine research were to be extended.
Schavan is accompanied by a delegation of lawmakers, scientists and business people and is to visit Beijing and Shanghai.
The visit comes on the 30th anniversary of a German-Chinese agreement on scientific and technological cooperation.