Diplomacy: Taiwan: Baerbock emphasizes EU unity

During her visit to China, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock tried to dispel the impression of European disagreement in view of controversial statements by French President Emmanuel Macron on the Taiwan conflict.

Diplomacy: Taiwan: Baerbock emphasizes EU unity

During her visit to China, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock tried to dispel the impression of European disagreement in view of controversial statements by French President Emmanuel Macron on the Taiwan conflict. The day before, Macron "underlined once again that French China policy reflects European China policy one-to-one," said the Green politician in the port city of Tianjin.

Despite all the differences in the EU, it is a strength "that we are not only close to one another when it comes to the central questions of our interests and values, but also pursue common strategic approaches".

In interview statements after his visit to China last week, Macron called on Europe to take a more independent course on the Taiwan issue and emphasized that Europe should keep its distance from both China and the United States.

Baerbock emphasized that it was "a very important sign" that EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the French President were in China together. If you share a single market, you can't take any different positions on the EU's largest trading partner - China - "and especially on Germany". At the same time, Baerbock warned of a military escalation in the Taiwan Straits in view of the possible global consequences for supply chains.

Baerbock sees unhealthy dependencies on China

The EU made it clear some time ago that China is a partner, competitor and systemic rival, said Baerbock. Today's China can no longer be measured by yesterday's standards. But it is also clear that "this emerging world power, a nation with billions of people, one of our largest trading partners" is not just impossible to ignore. Rather, a close exchange is necessary, especially in the interests of the people, the employees and the economy.

"But it is also clear that we have dependencies on China in some areas that are not healthy," Baerbock said. This does not mean "decoupling. But it means minimizing your risks and being aware that economic dependencies can also create dangers." That is why economic security will be a key issue in the China strategy that the German government is currently writing in close cooperation with its European partners. With around 1.4 billion inhabitants, China is the most populous country in the world, just ahead of India.

In view of Beijing's support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, the trip for Baerbock is likely to be one of the most difficult diplomatic missions of her term of office to date. It is "in our utmost interest that the Russian war of aggression finally ends fairly," said the minister. Putin can do that. "And one country has the most influence on Russia and that is China".

Visit to the gearbox manufacturer for wind turbines

At the wind power gearbox manufacturer Flender in Tianjin, Baerbock got an idea of ​​the renewable energies that are booming in China. Flender manufactures gearboxes for wind turbines, employs more than 8000 people worldwide and has locations in Europe, the USA, India and China. Gears are assembled in drive components in Tianjin. The commercial director of Flender in China, Martin Kaufung, raved about the "gigantic order situation". And you have to be quick: it takes half a year in China from the offer to the installation of a new wind turbine. Wind power fans in Germany can only dream of this.

China is the number one emitter of greenhouse gases and contributes over 32 percent of global emissions. However, the share of renewable energies has increased significantly in recent years.

Baerbock with German students

In a Pasch partner school, which belongs to a network of more than 2000 schools worldwide where German is particularly important, Baerbock got an impression of the wishes of young Chinese. According to their own statements, a good half of the men and women in grades 11 and 12 have already been accepted to study at a German university. When asked what you think of when you think of Germany, one student named football. A classmate mentioned art and culture, Brahms and Wagner.

Tough talks expected

The difficult political talks in Beijing will follow for Baerbock on Friday. She wants to continue the German-Chinese strategic dialogue with the new Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang. Later, a meeting with Chinese Vice President Han Zheng is planned.

Activists appealed to Baerbock to work for the immediate release of civil rights activists Xu Zhiyong (50) and Ding Jiaxi (55), who were sentenced to long prison terms on Monday. The two prominent lawyers had been sentenced to 14 and 12 years in prison for "undermining state power". Yaqiu Wang of the New York-based human rights group Human Rights Watch called for Baerbock to "unambiguously express concern about the persecution in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong".

The Beijing leadership sees Baerbock, with its rather critical attitude towards China, as a bit of a disruptive factor in relations - even after the visit of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in November. The leadership in Beijing is now hoping that German China policy will be made in the Chancellery, as was the case under Angela Merkel.

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