China-chIna relations: German Foreign Minister relapses to tough talk

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China-chIna relations: German Foreign Minister relapses to tough talk

After meeting with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, vowing to refrain from megaphone diplomacy, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock relapsed to tough talk against China, much to the great disappointment of those hoping that China-Germany bilateral relationship can develop toward pragmatic cooperation despite all political undercurrents. In an interview with the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper on Friday, the German foreign minister said she told her Chinese counterpart that coercion against Lithuania was unacceptable. She said the investment treaty between the EU and China was a farce. Since Baerbock has long advocated for a tough China approach, it is not surprising to see her confused right and wrong when it comes to China's response to Lithuania's establishment of the Taiwan Representative Office in Vilnius. Lithuania's move is not only a violation of the One-China principle, but it also undermines the EU's policy toward China. Under the current circumstances, it is believed that most EU countries have formed their own judgment and will not allow China-EU relations to be hijacked by Lithuania's reckless political theater. There is no doubt that pro-American forces such as Baerbock may have different views, but this will not cause too much uncertainty in China-Germany relations. The online meeting last week showed that it will not be easy for some anti-China forces to derail China-German cooperation, as reflected by the fact that even the hardline Baerbock sees the need to maintain good relations with China. The German business community is discontented about the radical rhetoric of German politicians like Baerbock, worried about the potential impact on bilateral relations, even though they are aware that there is division in China policy. According to German media reports, Siemens President and Chairman of the German Economic and Asia-Pacific Council APA Roland Busch warned German politicians not to seek confrontation with China and called for a respectful attitude toward China. China is Germany's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade hitting a new record of $235 billion in 2021. The stability of bilateral trade and investment relations is important for Germany's economic recovery after the coronaviruses epidemic. According to an annual Business Confidence Survey by the German Chamber of Commerce in China, the confidence of German companies in the Chinese market remains strong, according to the German Chamber of Commerce in China and KPMG. Almost 60 percent of the 596 German companies in China that took part in the survey reported improved business operations last year. The Green Party's extreme rhetoric on China has made many more concerned about the future of the bilateral relationship. There are growing signs that the new German government has gradually formed the consensus that it is not in Germany's national interest to join the US in countering China. If a German politician can't see the forest for the trees, his or her political life won't last long. If the German government goes wrong with its policy in China, to the detriment of its economy, it is bound to put more political pressure on the German government. The challenge for Germany is not to take sides in politics, nor to align its values with the US, but to continue to develop its economic power. German economic strength is a big factor in Germany's future development and ability to play a greater role in Europe and in the world, and cooperation with China is very important. China's economic development needs continued cooperation with global economic powers, such as Germany. Interdependence has become a consensus, based on which both governments should deepen their bilateral relationship for the sake of the livelihood of their countrymen.