Germany’s Baerbock warns Scholz ahead of his China trip
Olaf Scholz is traveling to China this week, under pressure to take a tougher line with Xi Jinping.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is demanding a more assertive “new China strategy,” piling pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz ahead of his visit to Beijing this week.
“The Federal Chancellor has decided the time of his trip,” Baerbock, from the Greens, said today during a visit to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. “Now it is crucial to make clear in China the messages that we laid down together in the coalition agreement,” she said, according to Der Spiegel newspaper.
“As is well known, we clearly stated in the coalition agreement that China is our partner on global issues, that we cannot decouple in a globalized world, but that China is also a competitor and increasingly a systemic rival,” said Baerbock, adding: “And that we will base our China policy on this strategic understanding and also align our cooperation with other regions in the world.”
“I made it clear that we as the federal government are writing a new China strategy,” she said relating her discussions with her counterpart in Central Asia.
Her comments reflect friction in the coalition following last week’s decision by the government to authorize Chinese company Cosco to buy a stake in one of the Hamburg port terminals. The chancellory reportedly tried to push the deal through despite concerns from coalition partners including the Greens and liberal FDP. In the end, Cosco was allowed to buy a smaller share than originally planned.
Scholz, from the SPD, has also raised eyebrows in Brussels with his Beijing policy, after flatly rejecting the idea of decoupling from China.