China’s ‘Systemic Rivals Aspect’ With Germany ‘Increasing”, Baerbock Says

China's 'Systemic Rivals Aspect' With Germany 'Increasing'', Baerbock Says

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks during a session of questions at the Bundestag, the German lower house of parliament, in Berlin on April 19, 2023China's 'Systemic Rivals Aspect' With Germany 'Increasing'', Baerbock SaysInternationalIndiaAfricaGerman Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who visited China between 13 and 15 April, had been expected to “set the record straight” after the French President caused a backlash with remarks about the US, China and Taiwan on the completion of his visit to Beijing. Critics thought Emmanuel Macron’s words undermined a common European China policy.China may be Germany’s largest trading partner, but its role as a “competitor” and “systemic rival” is now “increasing,” Annalena Baerbock warned lawmakers in the Bundestag, according to media reports.Germany’s Foreign Minister is the latest European politician to have flown to China, in the wake of forays there by France’s Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and other officials.Ahead of the visit, at the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Baerbock urged Europe to be “geopolitically more active” in its systemic rivalry with China, which she described as a “competitor” and a “systemic opponent.” The German official appeared to have been further convinced of this, judging by her remarks in Germany’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday.Baerbock touted “good and important” ties with Beijing, and conceded that China was important for Germany – after all, trade between the two countries amounted to around €300Bln ($320Bln) in 2022. About two-thirds of so-called rare earth metals, vital for batteries, semiconductors, and the magnets in electric cars, are imported by Germany from China.“We cannot get around China,” she told the politicians, adding that what Germany should do is not “decouple” itself from the Asian powerhouse, but rather “minimize its risks.”Baerbock was cited as warning Germany not to be “naïve” about China. She also urged against repeating mistakes, such as Berlin’s “change through trade,” or Wandel durch Handel (WdH) in German – a geo-economic approach to foreign policy.Accusing China of having become more “repressive” in internal policies, and allegedly adopting a more assertive and aggressive external stance, the German Foreign Minister added a dash of intrigue. She told lawmakers that she found parts of her recent trip to China “more than shocking“, though she stopped short of mentioning anything specific. This could be taken as a reference to Western allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, China’s westernmost province and the home of the Uyghur people. Claims of “mass internment, forced assimilation, forced labor and sterilization” for minorities have been held up by Washington as a pressure point against China. Beijing has repeatedly denied these allegations. China's 'Systemic Rivals Aspect' With Germany 'Increasing'', Baerbock SaysWorldScholz: Germany Adheres to One-China Policy Regarding Taiwan2 November 2022, 18:14 GMTSpeaking in parliament, the German Foreign Minister adopted a rather dramatic tone elsewhere in her speech to the Bundestag. As she weighed in on the new China strategy currently in the pipeline, she said, “We must safeguard freedom and the rule of law in the long term” and “stand up for the international order with a clear stance”. According to her, “the freedom, prosperity and security of all of us” is at stake.Indeed, the German government is currently drafting a strategy, which, reportedly, will embrace a tougher line with Beijing, and reduce reliance on the Asian giant. For the latter to work, German businesses will be expected to diversify supply chains regarding critical goods.Baerbock, whose three-day trip to China involved meetings with her counterpart Qin Gang, Chinese Vice President Han Zheng and Wang Yi, the country’s former top diplomat, had made some pretty blunt policy statements regarding Taiwan.”A unilateral and violent change in the status quo would not be acceptable to us as Europeans,” the foreign minister said. She added at a joint press conference with her Chinese counterpart Qin Gang in Beijing:”A military escalation in the Taiwan Strait, through which 50 percent of world trade flows every day, would be a horror scenario for the entire world.”However, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin, was quick to remind that, “Taiwan is China’s Taiwan.””Fellow citizens on both sides of the strait want national unity. That is our core interest,” he was cited as saying.Beijing views the island as its province, whereas Taiwan insists it is autonomous. Authorities in Beijing oppose any official contacts of foreign states with Taipei and consider Chinese sovereignty over the island indisputable – in accordance with the one-China policy.China's 'Systemic Rivals Aspect' With Germany 'Increasing'', Baerbock SaysWorldBaerbock’s Visit to China ‘Reaffirmed Weakness of EU’15 April, 17:54 GMT


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