Olaf Scholz Misses the Chance to Improve German-Chinese Relations

The engagement of German industrial companies in China is undoubtedly well-intentioned, and so is the Chinese view of their implication, as reflected in a long article in the April 14 Global Times, on the arrival of Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the country. However, his visit in Chongqing on the first day, which began with a tour to a Bosch factory producing hydrogen and to a joint German-Chinese research project on water quality at Chongqing University, was cut short. The other items on his agenda for April 14 were called off because of crisis sessions with the G7 and other Western institutions in response to the Iranian attack on Israel.

The next day, he was in Shanghai with his impressive delegation from German industrial powerhouses. There, he urged the Chinese to uphold fair competition and avoid dumping practices. On April 16, his visit will end in Beijing for meetings with Chinese political leaders. He is expected to urge them to stop supporting Russia, including on the Ukraine issue, and to complain about the lack of human rights, and the disregard for environmental issues.

The April 14 article in Global Times was positive as concerns the economic role played in China by German companies, but also addressed the worrisome loyalty of Germany to western geopolitics, including the EU’s “de-risking” policy. In that regard, Helga Zepp-LaRouche told China’s daily that for an export economy like Germany, it would be “suicidal” to follow these calls for “de-risking”.

“Germany is presently experiencing a dramatic economic downfall”, she said. “Meanwhile, the US has been luring German enterprises to invest in the US instead of Germany with incentives provided by the Inflation Reduction Act. In this adverse environment, the expansion of economic cooperation with China represents an anchor of stability for Germany”, she noted.“Indeed, if Germany does not effectively resist geopolitics, its relations with China will suffer.”

Geopolitics has also driven Berlin to participate in a series of anti-Chinese NATO military exercises in the Pacific, sending together with France and Spain, 50 fighter jets to Japan, Australia and Hawaii, among other places. A joint exercise with the Indian Air Force is also planned for the first time. Air Force Inspector Ingo Gerhartz bragged that “We are showing a European face in the Indo-Pacific.” And from May to November, the German navy is sending the frigate “Baden-Württemberg” and the task force provider “Frankfurt am Main” on a world tour, for joint exercises with the Americans and Canadians on the east coast of North America, then on to the East Pacific and Hawaii.

If the China-bashers at the EU Commission should succeed in banning certain Chinese exports to Europe on the pretext that they are subsidized and an alleged threat to the free market, the hardest hit would be German industry, which is the leading European importer of Chinese products.

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