The way we deal with China must change – POLITICO

The way we deal with China must change – POLITICO

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BERLIN – Berlin must change the way it treats China as the country moves back to a more open “Marxist-Leninist” political path, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said. he wrote in op on Thursday.

In his article for POLITICO i German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Scholz defended his trip to China on Thursday, but stressed that German companies will have to take steps to reduce “risky dependencies” in industrial supply chains, especially in terms of “cutting edge technology”. Scholz noted that President Xi Jinping has deliberately pursued a political strategy to make international companies rely on China.

“The outcome of the just concluded Communist Party Congress is unequivocal: the declarations of Marxism-Leninism occupy a much wider space than in the conclusions of previous congresses… As China changes, the way we deal with China must also change,” Scholz wrote.

Germany has faced harsh criticism for putting pressure on Europe strategically disastrous dependence on Russian gas in recent years, and Berlin now has to hit back at suggestions that it is making exactly the same mistakes by relying on China as a manufacturing base and commercial partner.

While Scholz expressed caution about China, he was far from suggesting that Germany is close to a major upheaval in its good relations with China. Indeed, it resonated clearly his predecessor Angela Merkel insisting that the (unnamed but apparently identified) United States should not drag Germany into a new Cold War against Beijing.

“Germany of all countries, which had such a painful experience of division during the Cold War, is not interested in the emergence of new blocs in the world,” he wrote. “What this means in relation to China is that, of course, this country with its 1.4 billion people and its economic power will play a key role on the world stage in the future – as it has for long periods throughout history.”

In a thinly veiled criticism of Washington’s policy, Scholz said Beijing’s rise did not justify “calls by some to isolate China.”

Most importantly, he insisted that the goal was not to “disengage” – or sever manufacturing ties – from China. He added, however, that he takes President Xi’s claim “seriously” that Beijing’s goal is to “tighten the dependence of international production chains on China.”

Scholz plans to travel to Beijing late Thursday for a day trip to the Chinese capital on Friday, where he will be the first Western leader to meet with Xi since his re-appointment and the first leader from the G7 group of major economies to visit China since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The chancellor also tried to counter criticism that his trip undermines the common European approach in China. According to French officials, President Emmanuel Macron proposed that he and Scholz visit Xi together to demonstrate unity and show that Beijing cannot divide European countries by playing their economic interests against each other – an initiative rejected by the German leader.

“German China policy can only be successful when it is embedded in European China policy,” Scholz wrote. “Ahead of my visit, we have therefore been working closely with our European partners, including President Macron, as well as our transatlantic friends.”

Chancellor Olaf Scholz echoed his predecessor Angela Merkel in insisting that the United States should not drag Germany into a new Cold War against Beijing | Clemens Bilan-Pool/Getty Images

Scholz said he wanted Germany and the EU to work with rising China – including on the important issue of climate change – rather than trying to push it out.

At the same time, he warned Beijing that it should not pursue a policy that aims for “hegemonic Chinese domination or even a Sinocentric world order.”

Scholz also made China stop his support for the Russian war against Ukraine and take a more critical stance towards Moscow: “As a permanent member [United Nations] The Security Council, China bears a special responsibility,” he wrote. “Clear words from Beijing to Moscow are important – to ensure that the United Nations Charter and its principles are respected.”

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