Scholz in China urges for ‘equal’ economic ties.

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By Creative Media News

During the visit of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping encouraged a greater economic partnership.

As a result of the Chinese leader’s consolidation of power, the trip has created debate in Germany and alarm across Europe.

Mr. Scholz spoke about “economic ties based on reciprocity and equality.”

President Xi stated that the two nations should collaborate during “periods of upheaval and turmoil.”

The chancellor’s visit, the first by a G7 leader since the coronavirus outbreak, follows an extraordinary and acrimonious cabinet dispute in Berlin.

Scholz in china urges for 'equal' economic ties.
Scholz in china urges for 'equal' economic ties.

It had come to light that a Chinese corporation was planning to acquire a substantial share in a portion of the Hamburg port. Six or more government ministers reacted angrily.

They argued that the agreement would grant China substantial power over vital German infrastructure. The German security services have likewise advised caution.

However, the German chancellor looked adamant that the agreement proceed. According to reports, he forced through an arrangement, albeit one that reduced the size and importance of the shareholding to 24.9%.

No one knows exactly why he appeared so motivated. Mr. Scholz, a former mayor of Hamburg, has tight links with the local officials, who claimed that the transaction represented a crucial investment.

Numerous other analysts, however, feel that Olaf Scholz did not want to visit Beijing without a “present” for Xi Jinping.

This has prompted both surprise and alarm.

As has the choice of the chancellor to accompany a delegation of German business executives. This was the typical procedure for his predecessor, Angela Merkel, who promoted a “Change through Trade” agenda in the belief that economic links may affect political relations with nations such as China and Russia.

The arrival of the chancellor immediately follows the National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, where President Xi reinforced his hold on power and prompted fears in the West about his intentions toward Taiwan.

Felix Banaszak, a legislator from Mr. Scholz’s coalition administration and a member of the Green Party, states: “The signal being delivered is that we want to expand and intensify our economic cooperation; this must be questioned.”

The Greens have long advocated for a harsher stance toward China. Annalena Baerbock, the party’s foreign minister, reminded him publicly and forcefully a few days ago that his administration came to power pledging to modify its China strategy.

Mr. Banazsak asserts that his nation must learn from its former reliance on Russian energy: “We must become as independent as possible from individual states, especially if they do not share our principles.

However, Olaf Scholz will be painfully aware of the complexity and depth of his nation’s relationship with China, which remains Germany’s top trading partner even though Germany imports more than it exports.

Over one million employees in Germany depend on this link. Consider the automaker Daimler, which sells over a third of its automobiles in China.

German companies invested more in China than ever before during the first half of this year. BASF has just launched a new facility in southern China and plans to invest €10bn (£8.6bn; $9.9bn) by the end of this decade.

On the eve of the visit, the chairman of the German Automotive Industry Association cited Germany’s dependence on China for raw materials and cautioned that “decoupling” would be a geopolitical and economic error.

Her counterpart at the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses also warned against an abrupt change in direction, stating, “At this time, the best recommendation is not to break any Chinese porcelain.”

Chancellor Scholz is in Beijing for less than twelve hours. Before his trip, he stated that he wanted to determine how much cooperation was still feasible because “the world needs China” in the fight against global pandemics and climate change.

“If China is evolving, so must our attitude to China,” he stated.

Many in Berlin and beyond will be on the lookout for indications that Mr. Scholz’s response to a changing China will be the defining test of his chancellorship.

Germany is the EU’s most powerful economy and perhaps its most important member, thus its words and actions are significant.

I had stated that former Angela Merkel could be compared to a European Donald Trump due to her tendency to prioritize Germany.

In favor of lucrative German energy and trade partnerships with Russia and China, broader EU concerns were disregarded. During the eurozone crisis, she demanded austerity measures for Mediterranean member states to avoid German taxpayers from acquiring shared debt.

In the minds of numerous EU leaders, Olaf Scholz is Mrs. Merkel’s successor in more ways than one.

On the European single market, it is believed that his enormous aid package to assist German businesses with high energy prices gives them an unfair competitive edge.

His travel to China, which was announced but not coordinated with others in the EU, has raised eyebrows across the continent. Emmanuel Macron of France recently warned Mr. Scholz that he ran the risk of becoming isolated.

As Europe, and Germany in particular, wean themselves off their reliance on Russian gas, the question arises: Is Berlin, misled by the prospect of economic deals, becoming too entwined with China?

French President Emmanuel Macron has pushed for the EU to become less dependent on Beijing for years. He was accused of protectionism by detractors.

After global supply-chain breakdowns during the Covid-19 outbreak, the “weaponization” of energy imports/exports after Russia invades Ukraine, and Donald Trump’s administration, it became evident that Europe should no longer rely so largely on the United States for security.

Brussels began to view broadening its trade partners as prudent in light of Mr. Macron’s insistence that the continent becomes more united and independent. Olaf Scholz is seen to be alarmingly out of step.

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