German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is demanding a more assertive “new China strategy”, pressuring Chancellor Olaf Scholz ahead of her visit to Beijing this week.
“The Federal Chancellor has decided on the time of his trip,” Baerbock of the Greens said today during a visit to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. “Now it is crucial to get across in China the messages that we established together in the coalition agreement,” she said, according to Der Spiegel newspaper.
“As is well known, we made it clear 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 more of a systemic rival,” Baerbock said, adding, “And that we will base our China policy on this strategic understanding and also align our cooperation with other regions of the world.”
“I have made it clear that we as the federal government are writing a new strategy for China,” she said, recounting her discussions with her Central Asian counterpart.
His comments reflect friction within the coalition following the government’s decision last week to allow Chinese company Cosco to take a stake in one of Hamburg’s port terminals. The chancellery reportedly tried to push through the deal despite concerns from coalition partners, including the Greens and the liberal FDP. In the end, Cosco was allowed to buy a smaller share than originally planned.
The SPD’s Scholz also raised eyebrows in Brussels with his Beijing policy, after he flatly rejected the idea of decoupling from China.