Olaf Scholz, the German Chancellor, arrived in China on Friday (4/11) for a one-day trip. Since COVID-19 was established, he is the first G7 leader. President Xi Jinping consolidates his power by a third term in the Communist Party general secretariat.
Scholz’s ruling coalition calls for a rethinking Germany’s China policy. Berlin’s dependence upon China as a global economic powerhouse is also causing concern.
A survey conducted by ARD broadcaster found that 1 in 2 Germans want Germany to be more independent from China. These results were published Thursday.
China has been Germany’s biggest trading partner for the past six years, with volumes exceeding EUR245 Billion in 2021.
During Scholz’s trip, where Xi, Li Keqiang, and Scholz will meet, the German Chancellor will likely discuss Russia’s war against Ukraine. This could be a way for China to convince Russia to end hostilities.
Scholz was also asked to press China regarding human rights and opening its market. It remains to be seen whether the visit will result in any significant changes.
“If Scholz believes he will make China’s wars or threats to Europe publically criticize, he would not be surprised,” Shi Yinhong told Reuters. Shi Yinhong is a Renmin University professor.
China has been cautious since Russia’s invasion. China criticizes Western sanctions against Russia but doesn’t support or assist Moscow in its military campaign.
Xi expressed his concern about Ukraine to Russian President Vladimir Putin at their September meeting.
“TESTING THE WATERS”
Wang Yiwei (director of Renmin University’s Centre for European Studies) stated that Scholz’s visit was significant because it is the first time in thirty years that a leader representing a major west-power has met face to face.
“It’s testing China-Germany relations and Europe, as well as the West.” Wang said that Macron would visit China one month later if the visit succeeds.
Sources from Germany claim that Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, suggested that Scholz and his wife go to Beijing as a symbol of EU unity. Scholz declined the offer.
Berlin granted China permission to acquire a stake in a Hamburg port terminal, despite opposition from coalition partners and concerns by America.
Shi, Renmin University, stated that Germany’s current economic situation, which includes historical inflation and looming recessive, is behind Berlin’s traditional China policies, and its more friendly approach towards Beijing than any other NATO country.
Scholz will be joined in the meeting by a delegation consisting of chief executives from Siemens and BMW. According to a German government source, however, there have not been any company deals.
Omid Nouripour, Greens party leader, stated that Scholz should have brought people and organizations banned from entering the country with him.
Funke Media Group quoted Nouripour saying that, “In addition to economic interchange, it needs to also be a clear condemnation of rights restraints as well as a strategy for reducing dependencies in critical areas.”
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