Baerbock in China: Foreign Minister wants to underline “common European conviction”.


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Abroad inaugural visit

Baerbock wants to underline “common European conviction” during China visit

Georgian Foreign Minister Darchiashvili and German Foreign Minister Baerbock meet in Tbilisi

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens)


Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is expected in China – it is likely to be one of the most delicate trips of her term of office so far. First of all, the Greens politician points out the “risks of one-sided dependencies”. She also gives top priority to the Ukraine war.

AForeign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) has called for consequences in view of the tensions between Taiwan and China. Germany has no interest in “economic decoupling”, “but we have to take a more systematic look at the risks of one-sided dependencies and reduce them,” said the Greens politician on Wednesday evening before her departure for Beijing. “This is especially true in view of the horror scenario of a military escalation in the Taiwan Strait, through which 50 percent of world trade flows every day.”

During her visit, she will underline “the common European conviction” that a unilateral change in the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and a military escalation would be unacceptable. Baerbock further explained that for Germany “a lot depends on whether we succeed in properly balancing our future relationship with China”.

Since the political split between mainland China and Taiwan in 1949, Beijing has viewed the island as a breakaway territory that it wants to reunite with the mainland – if necessary by military force. Baerbock’s remark can also be interpreted as an allusion to a controversial statement by French President Emmanuel Macron, which has in part been interpreted as suggesting that the EU was on a China attack on Taiwan could remain neutral.

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Emmanuel Macron during his lecture in The Hague

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French President Emmanuel Macron;  WELT author Caroline Turzer

Opinion Statements by Macron

A few days ago, after a state visit to China, Macron warned that Europe would become a “follower” on the Taiwan question. “The worst thing would be to think that we Europeans are followers and have to adapt to the American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction,” said the head of state in an interview with the WELT partner publication POLITICO and two French journalists der Zeitung „The Echoes“.

Macron’s statements had triggered sharp criticism in western countries. Chinese state media on the other hand, praised the French President. On Wednesday, Macron again stressed France’s independence. “Being an ally does not mean being a vassal,” said Macron in Amsterdam with a view to the USA. France has “the right to think for ourselves”.

“Special Responsibility for World Peace”

Meanwhile, Baerbock announced that she would also like to talk about human rights and climate protection during her visit to China. China is the world’s largest CO₂ emitter and the market leader in renewable energies. The country is at the same time a partner, competitor and systemic rival for the EU. “In which direction the needle will swing in the future also depends on which path China chooses,” she emphasized. During her visit, she wanted to get an idea of ​​the course the new leadership in Beijing is taking – “also with a view to the tension between political control and economic openness”.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China bears a “special responsibility for world peace,” emphasized the minister. “What role China plays with its influence on Russia will have consequences for the whole of Europe and our relationship with China,” she said, referring to the Russian attack on Ukraine. An “as soon as possible, lasting and just” end to the war is “high on my agenda in Beijing,” added Baerbock.

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The Foreign Minister will first travel to the Chinese port city of Tianjin. There she wants to meet the Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang. According to the Federal Foreign Office, Qin and Baerbock then want to travel on to Beijing on an express train to conduct a “strategic dialogue” in the capital. Baerbock will also meet other government officials and representatives of German companies there.

Baerbock will travel to South Korea on Saturday. As before in China, this is her inaugural visit. According to the information, Baerbock will first visit the demilitarized zone between South and North Korea and then hold talks in Seoul, including with government officials and refugees from North Korea. On Sunday, Baerbock will travel to Japan for the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting.

China calls on army for increased training

Meanwhile, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has called on the army to step up training for “actual combat operations.” The People’s Liberation Army of China must “resolutely defend territorial sovereignty and maritime interests and maintain stability in the outskirts,” Xi told marines, according to a report by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Between Saturday and Monday, the Chinese army had in a big manoeuvre practiced the encirclement of Taiwan and attacks on “key targets”. Taiwan still saw warships off its coasts on Tuesday.

“Beijing wants a world that isn’t about values, it’s about spheres of influence”

China feels provoked by Taiwan. In response, the People’s Republic is holding maneuvers off Taiwan. Statements by French President Macron on Taiwan had previously caused irritation. Caroline Turzer, Head of Foreign Policy, on the tense situation in the Indo-Pacific region.

The maneuver came in response to a meeting between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that had incensed China. Tsai met with the United States’ third highest official during a visit to the United States.

The federal government expressed concern about the growing tensions around Taiwan. A foreign ministry spokeswoman said shortly before a trip to China by department head Annalena Baerbock (Greens) that the federal government had the impression that “military threatening gestures” “run counter to” the goal of stability and peace in the region.

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