Plain text during his visit to China: Scholz is receiving pressure from all sides

Plain language when visiting China
Scholz is under pressure from all sides

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Scholz is traveling to China at the weekend. Human rights violations, threats against Taiwan, aggression in the South China Sea and cyber attacks in Germany – there are plenty of critical topics. Now the Greens, the Union and Taiwan are calling on the Chancellor to address these too.

Before his trip to China, which begins on Saturday, foreign politicians from the Greens and the Union called on Chancellor OIaf Scholz to confront the Chinese government with critical issues. The “increasingly violent threats against Taiwan, the aggression in the South China Sea or the serious human rights violations against the Uyghurs” must be addressed clearly and critically, said Green Party deputy Agnieszka Brugger to the “Tagesspiegel”. All of this is in “clear contradiction to China’s responsibility as a member of the United Nations Security Council.”

The CDU foreign politician Roderich Kiesewetter said it would be desirable if Scholz “also addressed the increasing cyber attacks from China against German companies, espionage and sabotage by China in Germany and Europe, the violations of international law in the Indo-Pacific, human rights violations against minorities in China, the massive support for the Russian war of aggression and the obvious massive military build-up”.

Scholz’s approach and thus his trip contradict the necessary strategic change towards China, which is increasingly making military and economic preparations for war. If Germany continues to “stick to appeasement and pursue the false narrative of “change through trade,” dependencies and vulnerabilities will only increase,” said Kiesewetter.

The Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer also called for clear words from the Chancellor about China’s role in the Ukraine war. Scholz should “make it clear to Chinese head of state Xi Jinping that it cannot be without consequences for our relations with China if Beijing takes Russia’s side and thus goes against central European security interests,” Bütikofer told the “Tagesspiegel”.

Taiwan expects clear words

Taiwan also expects Scholz to give a clear warning against the use of military force against the island republic during his visit to China. Taiwan’s representative in Germany, Jhy-Wey Shieh, acknowledged in an interview that Scholz had already sent clear words to the Chinese leadership during his last visit to China in November 2022. The threats against Taiwan have increased since then. “Maybe the Chinese didn’t really understand the shot back then.” Therefore, it “wouldn’t be bad if Mr. Scholz would say that again clearly in plain language.”

Scholz is traveling to China for three days on Saturday. Among others, he will meet President Xi Jinping there. A business delegation accompanies the Chancellor. Ministers Cem Özdemir, Volker Wissing and Steffi Lemke will also be there. It is the Chancellor’s second trip to China since taking office in December 2021 – and one of his longest trips ever as head of government.

No decoupling from China

Scholz will be in China for three full days and will visit three metropolises: Chongqing, Shanghai and Beijing. Among other things, it will be about economic relations with the world’s second largest economy – but also about Chinese threats against Taiwan, the war in Ukraine and human rights issues.

The core of the China strategy, which the traffic light coalition decided on last summer, is that the federal government wants to reduce economic dependence on China, but does not want to decouple itself from the country. China is still Germany’s most important trading partner. Last year, however, imports from China fell by 19.2 percent and exports fell by 8.8 percent.

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