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In China, German foreign minister isn’t backing down — still welcome

Tonhe chinese The government rolled out the red carpet for Annalena Baerbock’s visit on 14 April. Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang spent about six hours with his German counterpart, which included a tour of a German company’s factory in his hometown of Tianjin, a high-speed train ride from Tianjin to Beijing, lunch and a news conference at a government guest house. Ms Belbook also met with Chinese Vice-President Han Zheng and another senior foreign policy official, Wang Yi.

Although Ms Belbork set the tough tone for her visit in a statement she left Berlin, the exchanges were always courteous when she spoke of a “horrific scenario of military escalation in the Taiwan Strait”, in which A large portion of global maritime trade passes every day. She said she intended her visit to underscore the European view that any change in the status quo in the Strait, let alone a military escalation, is unacceptable.

Her press conference with Qin continued in a similar fashion. After the customary politeness, both made clear why they were seen as hawks in Sino-German relations in their respective countries. Ms. Belbook bluntly stated that Europe became a world power through expansionism, aggression and colonialism 150 years ago, and the world is paying close attention to which route China will choose to achieve its stated goal of becoming a world power by 2049 (that is, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China) . People’s Republic of China establishment). Its choices will determine the extent to which Europe can depend on economic ties with China in the future. Economic security is at the heart of the much-anticipated but long-delayed China strategy document, which Germany has been preparing for more than a year and which Ms Bell Bock’s foreign ministry is penning.

For his part, Mr Chin reiterated China’s position that Taiwan is part of it. He blamed the current tension in Taiwan on separatist forces. Responding to Ms Belbook’s concerns about human rights violations against Uyghurs, the Muslim minority in western Xinjiang, he spoke of the “lies” being spread about Xinjiang. He said Ms Baerbock could always come to the area to see for herself. He boldly pointed out that there is no unified human rights standard in the world, and warned that China does not need to be taught by the West. (Ms Bellbook retorted United Nations the Charter of Human Rights and United Nations Human rights conventions define universal human rights. )

Ms Belbook also asked why China did not use its leverage with Russia to end the war in Ukraine. Her opponent did not respond, but said China would not supply any weapons to Russia or Ukraine. When it came to supplying dual-use products, his answers were much more ambiguous.

Unusually for a foreign minister, Ms Bellbook has emphasized business links and “economic security” at nearly every turn.As soon as she got off the plane in Tianjin, she visited the German Flender SME A company that manufactures wind turbines. She also visited Vitesco, a German auto supplier in the city, and Volkswagen’s research and development center in Beijing. Last year, China became Germany’s largest trading partner again for the seventh year in a row, with imports and exports totaling more than 298 billion euros ($320 billion), about 21 percent more than in 2021. Germany relies on China for imports of rare earths and other essential minerals.

Ms Belbork insisted she did not want to decouple Germany from China, but instead “de-risked” the relationship by shifting supply chains from China to other countries to avoid dependence on key commodities, such as pharmaceutical primary products. In her view, the German and European markets and imports are important enough to give her a strong role in what she sees as a purely transactional relationship with China. Judging by the Chinese government’s efforts to welcome her to Beijing, she seems to have a point.Although Ms. Bellbox clear text (clear words), and Mr Qin’s own strong response, the Chinese foreign minister plans to travel to Berlin for more government consultations in June. He ended the news conference on a conciliatory note, saying, “eggshell! “.

Correction (April 17, 2023): This article has been updated to correct what we believe to be an inaccurate statement about trade flows through the Taiwan Strait.

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