Baerbock’s remarks came after a visit to Beijing where she warned against any attempt by China to control Taiwan.
Beijing has claimed Taiwan is a Chinese Province, governed democratically. It never ruled out the use of force to bring the island under its control.
Baerbock said that China also wants to follow their rules, not the international order built on rules. Beijing, in turn, asked Germany to back Taiwan‘reunification’ and said China-Germany were not enemies but partners.
Baerbock said to the German Bundestag that some of her experiences were “more than shocking” on Wednesday.
She did not elaborate on her comments, but they came after she said that China is becoming aggressive and repressive internally and externally.
She stated that China is both for Germany a competitor as well as a systemic opponent. Her impression is that “systemic rivals are increasing”.
Baerbock stated that China is Germany’s largest trading partner. Beijing is not necessarily Germany’s biggest trading partner.
She stated that the German government was willing to work with China but did not want to repeat the mistakes of the past. She cited, for example, the concept of “change through trade”, according to which the West can achieve political change within authoritarian governments via commerce.
Baerbock stated that China had an obligation to contribute to the world peace and to use its influence over Russia during the conflict in Ukraine.
She welcomed Beijing’s commitment to not provide weapons to Russia, including dual-use items. Berlin will examine how this promise is implemented.
Olaf Scholz’s government is developing a China Strategy to reduce dependence on Asia’s economic superpower, a crucial market for German exports.
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