On the Passing of Helmut Kohl

Helmut Kohl with the British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in London in 1983

Helmut Kohl with the British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in London in 1983NILS JORGENSEN REX SHUTTERSTOCK

Kohl is one of three men to hold the title of Honorary Citizen of Europe, along with Frenchmen Jean Monnet and Jacques Delors.

As an outstanding politician, Xi said, Kohl has made great contributions to German reunification and European integration, and his historic legacies will be remembered by all.

"Preparations are already underway", Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker's spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told AFP. A book of condolences for the late German leader, credited internationally for reunifying #Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall, is also to be laid out in Rhineland-Palatinate's state chancellery from today, local government spokeswoman Andrea Baehner said in Mainz.

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. Known as the "Chancellor of Unity", Chancellor Kohl led West Germany through reunification and became the first chancellor of a unified Germany.

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"When a new spirit began to stir in eastern Europe in the 1980s, when, starting in Poland freedom was seized, when fearless people in Leipzig, East Berlin and elsewhere in East Germany began a peaceful revolution, then Helmut Kohl was the right man at the right time", added Merkel, wearing black.

"Helmut's death hurts me deeply. My mentor, my friend, the very essence of Europe, he will be greatly, greatly missed".

Kohl died on Friday at his home in Ludwigshafen, in southwestern Germany.

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