BEIJING, July 14 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to visit China on July 15-18 at the invitation of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
The following is a profile of Merkel:
Merkel, born in the West German city of Hamburg on July 17, 1954, studied physics at the University of Leipzig from 1973-1978.
She worked and studied at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin-Adlershof from 1978 to 1990. She attained a PhD degree in physics in 1986.
The chancellor joined the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in 1986. After German reunification in 1990, Helmut Kohl made her the cabinet minister for women and youth. In 1994, she was appointed minister for the environment, nature protection and reactor safety.
In 1998, Merkel became secretary-general of the CDU. She took the helm of the CDU in 2000 and has led the party since. From September 2002 to November 2005, she was chairwoman of the CDU-CSU (Christian Social Union) parliamentary coalition.
In 2005, she became the first female chancellor of Germany and was reappointed in 2009.
Merkel has made four visits to China: as minister for environment, nature protection and reactor safety in August 1997; and as chancellor in May 2006, August 2007 and October 2008.