AJC: German Chancellor Kohl 'Always a Champion of European Unity'

AJC: German Chancellor Kohl 'Always a Champion of European Unity'

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday sent messages to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel, respectively, expressing his condolences over the death of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Kohl died peacefully in his bed at home in Ludwigshafen, in the southwestern state of Rhineland-Palatinate, said the Bild newspaper, adding that his wife Maike Kohl-Richter was by his side.

"He stood fast to the dream and aim of a united Germany even as others hesitated", she said in a televised statement from Rome. Helmut Kohl died Friday, June 16, 2017 at the age of 87 years. Leader of Opposition in the Bundestag through most of the 1970s, he was elected Chancellor in 1982 as the CDU returned to power.

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The second longest serving chancellor in German history after Otto von Bismarck, Kohl was not only the architect of German reunification, but also an avid advocate of European unity, pushing for the creation of the continent's single currency the euro in 2002.

Kohl led Germany in the closing months of 1989, during the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the end of the Cold War that had gripped the world since 1945.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who served as Luxembourg's prime minister while Kohl was in office, tweeted: "Helmut's death hurts me deeply. My mentor, my friend, the very essence of Europe, he will be greatly, greatly missed", he said.

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