Chinese policy will test the German alliance

German New coalition government Commit to pursuing a value-based foreign policy, emphasizing democracy and human rights, and not paying so much attention to the country’s commercial interests. This has been the overriding priority of successive Angela Merkel governments. However, the day before he became Merkel’s successor, Olaf Schultz Shows what kind of tightrope walking this might bring.Schultz takes a hard line Russia’s threat to Ukraine, Berlin’s most pressing foreign policy issue.

When it comes to China’s more important diplomatic challenge, the new prime minister sounds a lot like the outgoing prime minister.Asked if Germany will follow the U.S. Diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, Scholz was vague, promised to consider carefully, and talked about the piety of international cooperation. If this is an opportunity to set a different tone for the relationship between many German companies and the largest export market, Scholz would not accept it.

However, the alliance agreement between Schultz’s Social Democrats and the Greens and Liberals did set a very different tone. Successive German governments have regarded China as a strategic partner. This person regarded it as a “systematic competitor” and twice used what Merkel had never said before. It clearly mentions the violation of human rights in Xinjiang, the regression of democracy in Hong Kong, and China’s threat to regain Taiwan. Philosophically speaking, it brings Germany closer to the United States. At the same time, the alliance promised to “Europeanize” bilateral contacts with Beijing and formulate a comprehensive China strategy consistent with the EU. This European method is particularly popular. Beijing is good at splitting and weakening the European Union, and Germany’s single-minded pursuit of its commercial interests often helps it.

A key part of the EU’s strategy is to take defensive measures against Beijing’s unfair competition and economic bullying.Measures include trade countermeasures, combating foreign subsidies, peer-to-peer procurement, due diligence requirements to eliminate forced labor, carbon boundary adjustment mechanisms, and The upcoming anti-coercion policyThe new alliance should support these instruments as long as they are proportionate and not procrastinated as Germany used to, in part to please Beijing. The market opening that Berlin has achieved in return—for example, under the EU-China investment agreement that failed last year—is not enough.

Understandably, German companies worry that a value-based foreign policy will expose them to retaliation or strong consumer opposition. Beijing has issued such threats before.Like the Chinese government, German business leaders also want Schultz — who won the election and vowed to emulate Merkel’s cautious and thoughtful leadership style — give orders to China, not Annalena Baerbock, Minister of Green Foreign Affairs Who is more hawkish. A bad result would be a moderate prime minister and a provocative foreign minister. This will undermine the credibility of German diplomacy and the cohesion of the alliance. Berlin needs to find a way to tell the truth to Chinese forces when Europe is united.

German industry-it should be noted that its European suppliers-have benefited greatly from China, not only because of China’s rapid growth, but also by its increasing innovation. No one in Europe thinks that decoupling is a good idea.But Merkel’s firm conviction Change through trade -Change through trade-proved to be wrong. China has changed in the wrong direction. The new German government must adjust its foreign policy accordingly.

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