Germany has printed a brand new coverage to cope with a extra “assertive” China, Chancellor Olaf Scholz mentioned, after months of fractious discussions over methods to cope with Berlin’s essential buying and selling associate.
“Our purpose is to not decouple (from Beijing). However we wish to scale back important dependencies going ahead,” Scholz tweeted Thursday after unveiling the brand new technique, which he mentioned “responded to a China that has modified and change into extra assertive.”
The coverage, which the federal government mentioned can be embedded within the European Union’s strategy to China, was meant to be “practical however not naive,” International Secretary Annalena Baerbock mentioned.
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The doc is the product of months of bickering inside the German authorities over its technique in the direction of China.
Whereas Baerbock of the Greens has pushed for a extra aggressive stance on Beijing and a higher emphasis on human rights, Scholz, a Social Democrat, has supported a extra trade-friendly stance.
The brand new China coverage marks a finely calibrated stability of the 2 inside the coalition authorities, calling Beijing a “associate, competitor, systemic rival”.
“China is Germany’s largest single buying and selling associate, however whereas China’s dependence on Europe continues to say no, Germany’s dependence on China has change into extra vital in recent times,” the doc mentioned.
The federal government mentioned it had no intention of “obstructing China’s financial progress and improvement”.
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“On the similar time, danger discount is urgently wanted,” it mentioned.
Berlin “watches with concern how China seeks to affect the worldwide order in step with the pursuits of its one-party system and thus downplay the foundations of the rules-based worldwide order, such because the standing of human rights.”
Germany had additionally accused China in its first nationwide safety technique unveiled final month of performing in opposition to German pursuits, placing “rising stress” on worldwide safety and ignoring human rights.
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A German intelligence report additionally listed China because the “greatest menace relating to financial and scientific espionage and overseas direct funding in Germany”.
The tougher line has alarmed Beijing, but in addition fueled worry in German business, which has change into more and more depending on China.
In latest months, company giants akin to Volkswagen and Siemens have mapped out development methods that rely closely on the Chinese language market.
On Thursday, Volkswagen’s Chief Working Officer Ralf Brandstaetter welcomed the political goal of the brand new China technique “to strengthen our personal place … to cut back one-sided financial dependencies and create incentives for higher diversification”.
“We don’t look naively on the financial powerhouse that China has change into,” the German automaker’s chief mentioned in a press release.
To reduce geopolitical dangers, Germany should “scale back dependencies and strengthen our place in different areas” and “create autonomously manageable worth chains,” he added.
‘Scale back dangers’
Scholz has pressured that Germany “does not need decoupling, we wish danger discount”.
However he has underlined Berlin’s transfer to diversify buying and selling companions, saying Germany is “decided to actively broaden our financial relations with Asia and past”.
After the USA tightened its financial coverage in opposition to China, Beijing fears its greatest associate within the EU might transfer in the identical course, utilizing the seemingly benign discuss of “danger discount” to regularly disengage from the Asian market as a substitute. economic system.
Li Qiang, who visited Germany final month on his first journey overseas since he was appointed prime minister of China, additionally underlined Beijing’s emphasis on bettering relations with the EU as criticism from the bloc mounts.
However he warned Berlin in opposition to “utilizing de-risking in title to enact decoupling” and demanded a “stage taking part in area” for Chinese language firms.