Merkel said the regular consultations between the two nations covered areas of disagreement such as human rights and Hong Kong, and she wanted a human rights dialogue with China to resume, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
"I would hope that we could also get the human rights dialogue going again as soon as possible," she said. Meanwhile, Li said China and Germany had differing views on some issues over what constituted an "objective fact", but could still work together.
He said both sides should focus on the long-term health and stable development of relations for the next 50 years, and "exclude unnecessary interference", reported SCMP. Communication between Beijing and Berlin comes at a time when relationships between China and European countries are strained over the alleged human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
The European Union (EU) and China have exchanged sanctions on each other's officials and entities, which threatens to derail the EU-China trade deal agreed last year. Germany is also one of the EU countries considering sending warships to patrol the South China Sea to challenge China's claims in the disputed waters, SCMP reported.
Beijing was perturbed by violent anti-government protests in 2019 and has imposed the draconian national security law to take action against those who protested against the government. Since the imposition of the national security law, a number of former pro-democracy lawmakers have been arrested.
China has also been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination. Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party's brutal crackdown on the ethnic community.