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German elections: What's in store for China after Merkel?

Coalition math will determine whether Beijing will face a less friendly Berlin

Either Armin Laschet of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, left, or Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democratic Party will likely become Germany's next chancellor. Who they pick as coalition partners will like determine the country's stance on China. (Nikkei montage/Reuters/AP)

HAMBURG, Germany -- After 16 years of relatively warm ties with China under Angela Merkel, Germany will vote later this month in an election that will determine who will take over as chancellor and set the course for relations with Beijing.

Voters will on Sept. 26 elect a new parliament, the Bundestag, which in turn will pick Germany's next leader. Chinese officials will be watching keenly as Germany is its most important partner in the European Union, with a mutual trading value of 212.9 billion euros ($251.6 billion).

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