“Maischberger”: China is a “system rival,” says Strack-Zimmermann


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Panorama TV review “Maischberger”

“The bottom line is that it is a system rival,” says Strack-Zimmermann about China

Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (middle) in conversation with the China expert Felix Lee and Sandra Maischberger Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (middle) in conversation with the China expert Felix Lee and Sandra Maischberger

Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (middle) in conversation with the China expert Felix Lee and Sandra Maischberger

What: WDR/Thomas Kierok

After the German-Chinese government consultations at “Maischberger”, the FDP politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann warns against ignoring Beijing’s great power thinking. The West threatens to repeat mistakes it made in dealing with Putin. China is a “system rival”.

DGermany’s relations with China and Russia are strained. But while Russian President Vladimir Putin regularly makes threats to the West, the Chinese Prime Minister said he was ready for dialogue during his visit to Germany on Tuesday. At the German-Chinese government consultations, Li Qiang advocated increased cooperation in science, industry and business. Sandra Maischberger spoke in her talk show in the ARD about it with the journalists Anja Kohl, Gabor Steingart, Eva Schulz and Felix Lee as well as with the FDP politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann.

Kohl and Steingart initially had a dispute about whether the sanctions imposed on Russia were working. They were of no economic use, nor would they have persuaded Putin to give in politically, said the editor of the Pioneer Briefing. The Russian economy is growing and has found other customers in India and China for gas and oil. “New, for us not very friendly economic cycles” have been developed. In addition, many companies circumvented the sanctions. All the big companies stayed in Russia “in very interesting ways,” Steingard noted.

“I can’t let it stand like that,” countered Anja Kohl immediately. Putin had converted his state to a “total war economy”. Deducting war production, the economy probably shrunk by a double-digit percentage. The low unemployment rate is related to the fact that people fought at the front or fled. In addition, the oil embargo had an effect, the national budget was threatened with a massive deficit, a special dividend had been passed and gold reserves had been sold. According to Kohl, the sanctions worked, but could not decide the war.

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Vladimir Putin (left) at a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi

With a view to the European relationship with China, the ARD stock market expert spoke of “mutual dependency”. Germany is particularly dependent because the key industries need the sales market there and have relocated their own production facilities there. At the same time, the Chinese state needs the rest of the world because its growth is extremely low and every fifth city dweller is unemployed. President Xi Jinping is having major economic problems, the journalist explained, which is why he is now relying on “great power and the military”.

“That’s outrageous,” criticizes Lee Scholz’s behavior

Maischberger delved into the subject with Felix Lee and Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann. Both criticized Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), who had not allowed any press questions after the German-Chinese government consultations. “In a free country” the process is “remarkable,” said the FDP politician, who chairs the Defense Committee in the Bundestag.

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“That’s outrageous,” criticized Lee Scholz’s behavior. The Federal Chancellery would have to “justify itself again”. In contrast to Scholz, predecessor Angela Merkel always insisted on questions even when visiting China, the former Beijing correspondent for the “taz” recalled.

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Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD, r) welcomes Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang

Visit of China’s Premier

Regarding Germany’s relationship with China, Strack-Zimmermann stated: “The bottom line is that it’s a system rival.” Only a few weeks ago, Chinese representatives articulated their own great power thinking at a security conference in Singapore. Putin formulated his goals in a similar way 15 years ago, said Strack-Zimmermann. That’s why she recommends “urgently, listen now” so that “we don’t run in front of the pump again”. The Russian war of aggression also sensitized people to the “brutal” dependency that almost all European ports have on China.

Lee explained the German dependency using the example of the Volkswagen company, in which his father once helped build up the China business as a manager. The car manufacturer once did pioneering work, the journalist emphasized. China had long been dependent on VW, but the relationship has now reversed. In addition to the 34 production sites and the sales market, technological development is also at stake, with China overtaking German automakers, according to Lee. His conclusion: “VW cannot withdraw from China at all – that would be the end of VW.”

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