Germany calls for elimination of risks in new strategy on China

Posted on : 2023-07-14 17:13 KST Modified on : 2023-07-14 17:13 KST
The newly released document outlines Germany’s intention to uphold economic ties with China while reducing dependence in key areas
Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany meets with President Xi Jinping of China on Nov. 4, 2022, during the former’s trip to Beijing. (Yonhap)
Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany meets with President Xi Jinping of China on Nov. 4, 2022, during the former’s trip to Beijing. (Yonhap)

The German government has released a new comprehensive strategy on China which states that it has no intention of pursuing “decoupling” from the East Asian country or interfering with its economic development but claims that there is an “urgent need to eliminate risks.”

In the 64-page document outlining the federal government’s strategy on China, which was released on the Foreign Office’s official website on Thursday (local time), Germany defines China as a “partner, competitor, and systemic rival.”

The document also revealed that Germany will “raise awareness” of risks relating to China, noting that German companies or industries would have to reckon with greater problems “the further China moves away from the norms and rules of the rules-based international order.”

“In the context of existing risk management processes,” German companies are expected “to keep a close eye on relevant China-related developments, data and risks.”

Germany has made it clear that while it will still maintain economic ties with China, it wants to reduce dependence in key areas to reduce risk.

This is largely in line with the German government’s national security strategy, which it released on June 14, and the European Union’s new China strategy, which was finalized on June 30.

The German government did not hold a press conference on Thursday, while it did when it released the national security strategy a month ago.

Instead, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock spoke directly about the strategy at the German think tank Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) in the afternoon and emphasized China’s role as a “systemic rival.”

She stated that its role as “systemic rival” was beginning to “dominate” in recent years, warning that “companies that make themselves particularly dependent on the Chinese market will increasingly have to bear the financial burden of this risk.”

Thursday’s release of the China strategy follows Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s (Social Democratic Party) promise to form a “traffic light coalition” with the Greens and Free Democrats to create a “comprehensive China strategy” in late 2021.

The strategy was originally scheduled to be released earlier this year, but due to differences within the coalition, the actual release took some time.

The strategy also includes a section dedicated to Taiwan, which was omitted from the national security strategy.

“Germany has close and good relations with Taiwan in many areas and wants to expand them,” the document read. “The status quo of the Taiwan Strait may only be changed by peaceful means and mutual consent.”

By Noh Ji-won, Berlin correspondent

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