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Germany steps up approach to more ‘assertive’ China

Li Qiang visited Germany last month on his first foreign trip since being appointed as Chinese premier.

Germany on Thursday adopted a tougher strategy against its biggest trading partner, a more “assertive” China, which Beijing warned could “undermine cooperation and mutual trust”. bottom.

The document, which seeks a balance between the competing interests of the EU’s largest economy, is a complete review of Germany’s position as a “partner, competitor and systemic rival” to China.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz tweeted that he wanted to “reduce critical dependencies in the future” and said Berlin was “responding to a changing and more assertive China”.

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Foreign Minister Annalena Burbock said the 64-page blueprint the government claimed was embedded in the European Union’s approach to China showed the government to be “realistic but not naive”.

The document is the result of months of debate within the German government over its strategy toward China.

While the Green Party’s Barbock advocated a more hawkish line and a greater focus on human rights, the Social Democrat’s Scholz backed a more trade-friendly stance that he called “reduces risk but not decoupling”. ing.

The new China policy shows a finely tuned balance between the two countries within the ruling coalition, an achievement Mr. Barbock called “finding the middle ground that is the lifeblood of democracy.”

However, this provoked a strong backlash from the Chinese government, which he said said, “It is neither objective fact nor the common interests of the two countries to regard China as an ‘organized competitor and rival.'”

In a statement, the Berlin embassy warned that “ideological views of China… will only foster misunderstandings and misjudgments, undermining cooperation and mutual trust.”

“While China’s dependence on Europe is constantly declining, Germany’s dependence on China has become more important in recent years,” the German newspaper said.

The government said it would not “impede China’s economic progress and development.”

“At the same time, there is an urgent need for risk aversion,” he said.

Berlin “observes with concern how China seeks to influence the international order in line with the interests of its one-party dictatorship, and thereby relativize the foundations of the rules-based international order, such as the human rights situation. are doing”.

But Germany also stressed the possibility of further cooperation, noting, for example, that “without China it will be impossible to overcome the climate crisis.”

– “Biggest Threat” –

Germany, which has suffered from dependence on Russian gas and has been hit by supply chain disruptions during the pandemic, is stepping up efforts to diversify away from China.

In its first National Security Strategy, released last month, Berlin accused China of acting against Germany’s interests, “increasing pressure” on international security and ignoring human rights.

A report by the German Intelligence Service lists China as “the biggest threat associated with economic and scientific espionage and foreign direct investment in Germany.”

The hard line alarmed the Chinese government, but it also raised concerns among German industries, which are increasingly dependent on China.

In recent months, major companies such as Volkswagen and Siemens have outlined growth strategies that rely heavily on the Chinese market.

Scholz stressed Berlin’s desire to diversify its trading partners and said Germany was “committed to actively expanding its economic ties with Asia and beyond.”

Mr. Barbock stressed Thursday that big companies need to take more responsibility for “risk aversion” and wouldn’t assume Berlin would provide bailouts in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

The Federation of German Industries welcomed the strategy, but said it would not be implemented given the “risks” that business activity in China “could be unduly restricted and unnecessarily hinder the creation of prosperity and innovation.” I warned you it would be the key.

Ever since the United States stepped up its economic policy toward China, the Chinese government has worried that the EU’s biggest partner might be heading in the same direction.

Li Qiang last month visited Germany on his first foreign trip since being appointed Chinese premier and warned Berlin against “using nominal risk aversion to enforce decoupling”.

The visit came under heavy criticism after Mr Scholz acquiesced to China’s request not to allow journalists to ask questions at a joint press conference, which in Berlin would mean abandoning values ​​in exchange for access. It is widely accepted that there is a will.


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https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/germany-bolsters-approach-to-more-assertive-china/news-story/0903e11a24a81980ad063a5863ea20a4 Germany steps up approach to more ‘assertive’ China

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