Scholz under pressure to push new China strategy

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Olaf Scholz is under pressure to implement a “new China strategy” as he meets with President Xi Jinping in Beijing this week. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has urged the Chancellor to be more “assertive” and reinforce the arguments laid out in their coalition agreement.

Ms Baerbock made her statements from Tashkent in Uzbekistan, where she was also in talks with her counterpart in that region.

She said: “The Federal Chancellor has decided the time of his trip.

“Now it is crucial to make clear in China the messages that we laid down together in the coalition agreement.

“As is well known, we clearly stated in the coalition agreement that China is our partner on global issues, that we cannot decouple in a globalized world, but that China is also a competitor and increasingly a systemic rival.

“And that we will base our China policy on this strategic understanding and also align our cooperation with other regions in the world.”

She added: “I made it clear that we as the federal government are writing a new China strategy [in Uzbekistan].”

The Chancellor’s Social Democratic Party (SDP) is recently been in conflict with Ms Baerbock’s Greens over a decision made by the Germany Government to allow Chinese company Cosco to buy a stake in one of the Hamburg port terminals.

The Greens and Free Democratic Party (FDP) raised objections to the deal over fears of economic dependence on Beijing, but Mr Scholz reportedly tried to force it through regardless.

Ultimately Costco were persuaded to buy a smaller share than was originally agreed.

The Chancellor has also rejected the idea of fully decoupling from China, despite fears in Brussels that China poses a threat to the West.

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President Xi has been taking steps to fully consolidate his hold over the Chinese Communist Party.

At the recent party conference he sought to remove any potential opposition to an invasion of Taiwan, sparking alarm that he may make good on his threats to take the island.

Taiwan claims to be an independent nation, however China has always viewed the island as part of its sovereign territory.

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