ROUNDUP: Baerbock: Find what connects you with China despite all the differences

BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on China for an honest and open dialogue about differences before the planned government consultations. “The list of our issues was long in Beijing and it hasn’t gotten any shorter. Fair economic relations, security issues in the Indo-Pacific, but also developments in the Middle East and the issue of human rights,” said the Green politician on Tuesday in Berlin at a joint press conference with her Chinese counterpart Qin Gang.

The meeting served to prepare for the German-Chinese government consultations planned for June, to which the new Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang was invited to Berlin. The Federal Government organizes such talks with several close or strategically important partners, including France, Japan, India, Brazil and Israel. The last German-Chinese intergovernmental consultations took place in 2021 – because of the corona pandemic at the time as a video conference and overshadowed by political tensions.

The Foreign Minister stressed that it is also part of a real and honest dialogue that she openly addresses it if the winner of the Franco-German human rights award is arrested on the way to the EU embassy during her stay in Beijing. Baerbock: “Together with my European colleagues, we are therefore calling for his release.”

She also advocated contacts between civil society and said: “Only when people meet again do we form contacts that will carry us into the future. I wish that we would have these talks above all in this spirit of togetherness, of contact , lead with an open mind and, despite all the differences, always find what connects you.”

Baerbock called on the Chinese government to make a clear commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders. In all peace efforts, it must be clear “that the United Nations Charter, which relates to sovereignty and territorial integrity, applies,” said Baerbock. “In concrete terms, this means that Russia must withdraw its troops from Ukraine.” The Russian war of aggression was still being discussed in Berlin. “China, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, can play a significant role in ending the war if it decides to do so,” she said.

However, it became clear that despite the Ukraine war, China continues to rely on economic relations with Russia. “There are normal exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and Russian companies. And these normal exchanges must not be disturbed,” Qin Gang said, according to the translation. At the same time, it is the law in China not to deliver weapons to crisis regions. There are also corresponding regulations for so-called dual-use goods, which can be used for civil and military purposes.

In this context, Qin Gang was critical of the EU’s new sanctions on Russia. It is “strongly opposed” to countries launching unilateral sanctions against China or other countries under their own domestic laws, he said, according to the translation. “If that were the case, we will also respond to it strictly and strictly. And we will also defend the legitimate interests of our country and our companies.”

Baerbock emphasized that it was important that sanctions were not undermined in a roundabout way. “It is particularly critical when Russian armaments companies get hold of goods relevant to the war,” she said. That is why the EU is examining very targeted measures to ensure that sanctioned goods do not fall into the wrong hands. “This isn’t directed at any specific country, it’s specific to these sanctioned assets,” she said. However, she expects China to act accordingly on its companies.

The Chinese foreign minister warned against pursuing economic “decoupling” policies, fueling antagonisms or exploiting a currency monopoly – an obvious reference to US policy. “If this new Cold War becomes a reality, it would not only be at the expense of China, but also at the expense of Europe,” he said, according to the translation. He called for China and Germany to act together to ensure the stability of global supply chains./cn/DP/nas