PanamaTimes

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Germany aims to ‘set the record straight’ on China after Macron’s Taiwan comments

Germany aims to ‘set the record straight’ on China after Macron’s Taiwan comments

As German Foreign Minister Baerbock heads to China, Berlin is keen to stress that Europe will neither let Taiwan nor the US down.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is heading to China to represent Berlin, but she'll likely have more explaining to do about Paris in the wake of French President Emmanuel Macron's explosive comments on Taiwan.

As Baerbock embarked on her two-day visit Wednesday evening, officials in Berlin were eager to stress that Germany and the EU care about Taiwan and stability in the region, arguing it's mainly China that must contribute to de-escalation by refraining from aggressive military maneuvers close to the island nation.

Baerbock's trip comes amid international backlash against Macron's comments in an interview with POLITICO, arguing Europe should avoid becoming America’s follower, including on the matter of Taiwan’s security. Although German government spokespeople refused to comment directly on the French president's remarks, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry specifically called out Beijing when expressing "great concern" over the situation in the Taiwan Strait.

"We expect all parties in the region to contribute to peace. That applies equally to the People's Republic of China," the spokesperson said, adding: "And it seems to us that actions such as military threatening gestures are counter to that goal and, in fact, increase the risk of unintended military clashes."

Nils Schmid, the foreign policy spokesperson for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democratic Party (SPD), said he expects Baerbock to "set the record straight" during her trip to China, which will involve meetings with Beijing's Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Vice President Han Zheng and top diplomat Wang Yi.

"We clearly defined in the [government] coalition agreement that we need a changed China policy because China has changed. The chancellor made that clear during his visit. Above all, Scholz also issued clear warnings about Taiwan during his visit [last year]," Schmid wrote in a tweet. "I assume that Foreign Minister Baerbock will repeat exactly that and thus set the record straight and make a clarification after Macron's botched visit."

Berlin traditionally has been much more in sync with the U.S. on foreign and security policy than France has, which is why many politicians and officials in the German capital reacted with horror to Macron's comments. The French president said Europe should not take its "cue from the U.S. agenda and a Chinese overreaction," suggesting the EU stood between the two sides, rather than being aligned with its longtime democratic partners in Washington.

Macron gave the impression to some in the U.S. that Europeans see Beijing and Washington as "equidistant" from Brussels in terms of values and as allies, said SPD foreign policy lawmaker Metin Hakverdi, who is currently on a parliamentary visit to the U.S.

“That was foolish,” Hakverdi told POLITICO, adding that "Macron potentially damaged the peaceful status quo around Taiwan" by giving "the public impression that Europe has no particular interest in the conflict over Taiwan.

"The issue of Taiwan is not an internal matter for the People's Republic of China. Anything else would virtually invite Beijing to attack Taiwan," Hakverdi added. "I am confident that our foreign minister will make that clear during her trip to Asia — both to Beijing and to our Asian partners."

Katja Leikert from the main German opposition party, the center-right CDU, criticized Macron's comments as "extremely short-sighted," and added: "Should China decide to strike Taiwan militarily, either by invading it or by starting a maritime blockade, this would have significant political and economic repercussions for us. We cannot just wish that away.

"What we actually need to do right now is strengthen our defense against aggressive measures from Beijing," Leikert said.

For Berlin, Macron's comments also come at a particularly bad moment for transatlantic ties. The German government is keen to mend cracks in its relationship with Washington that have emerged over the controversial benefits for U.S. businesses under Joe Biden's Inflation Reduction Act. Europe hopes to reach an agreement so that its own companies may also be eligible for these subsidies.

Macron's comments "will not help in renegotiations on the Inflation Reduction Act, nor will they help Joe Biden in the election campaign against populist Republican candidates," said the SPD's Hakverdi.


The German foreign ministry spokesperson was quick to stress that both France and Germany were involved in shaping a joint EU-China policy

The German foreign ministry spokesperson was quick to stress that both France and Germany were involved in shaping a joint EU-China policy, which was also done in cooperation "with our transatlantic partner."

During her trip to China, Baerbock plans to raise the situation in the Taiwan Strait; Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine; the human rights situation in China; as well as the fight against climate crisis, the spokesperson said.

Baerbock's foreign ministry is also currently drafting Germany's first China strategy. A draft of this seen by POLITICO last year vowed to take a much harder line toward Beijing. Baerbock and her Green party are at the forefront of pushing such a tougher position, while Scholz has long preferred a softer approach.

Incidentally, however, the German government said Wednesday it is reassessing whether to potentially take a firmer stance and ban Chinese state company Cosco from going through with a highly controversial move to buy parts of a Hamburg port terminal.

Scholz had strongly pushed for the port deal ahead of his own trip to Beijing last year, but the future of the transaction is now in doubt after German security authorities classified the terminal as "critical infrastructure."
Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
El Salvador's Bitcoin Holdings Reach $350 Million
Teens Forming Friendships with AI Chatbots
WhatsApp Rolls Out Major Redesign
Neuralink's First Brain Implant Experiences Issue
Apple Unveils New iPad Pro with M4 Chip, Misleading AI Claims
OpenAI to Announce Google Search Competitor
Apple Apologizes for Controversial iPad Pro Ad Featuring Instrument Destruction
German politician of the AFD party, Marie-Thérèse Kaiser was just convicted & fined $6,000+
Changpeng Zhao Sentenced to Four Months in Jail
Biden Administration to Relax Marijuana Regulations
101-Year-Old Woman Mistaken for a Baby by American Airlines: Comical Mix-Up during Flight Check-in
King Charles and Camilla enjoying the Inuit voice singing performance in Canada.
New Study: Vaping May Lower Fertility in Women Trying to Get Pregnant
U.S. DOJ Seeks Three-Year Sentence for Binance Founder Changpeng Zhao
Headlines - Thursday, 23 April 2024
Illinois Woman Wins $45M Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson and Kenvue for Mesothelioma Linked to Baby Powder
Panama's lates news for Friday, April 19
Creative menu of a Pizza restaurant..
You can be a very successful player, but a player with character is another level!
Experience the Future of Dining: My Visit to an AI-Powered Burger Joint
Stabbing rampage terror attack in Sydney, at least four people killed, early reports that a baby was among those stabbed.
Iran fired more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel overnight. Israel Reports Light Damage After Iran Launches Large Strike.
I will never get enough of his videos and the pure joy and beauty of these women!!
Scientists at the University of Maryland have developed an "invisibility cloak", for AI using adversarial patterns on a sweater, making the wearer nearly undetectable to standard object detection methods.
Lamborghini Bids Farewell to Its Best-Selling Sports Car: The Huracán
Sam Bankman-Fried Appeals 25-Year Prison Sentence for $8bn FTX Fraud
OJ Simpson, ex-NFL star who was acquitted of murder, dies aged 76
British Backpacker Imprisoned in Notorious Bolivian Prison: Family Raises Funds for Legal Fight and Essentials
Argentina: Venezuela Cuts Power to Embassy after Opposition Meeting
El Salvador Offers 5,000 Passports to Skilled Foreign Workers: Tax-Free Relocation and Citizenship
Panama Papers Trial Begins: Founders of Mossack Fonseca Face Money-Laundering Charges
75 Becomes the New 65: Retiring in Your 60s Unrealistic as Life Expectancy Increases and Costs Rise
Total Solar Eclipse of 2021: 32 Million Witness the Mystical, $1.5bn Spectacle Sweep Across North America
New shopping experience…
New world, new reality, let’s get used to it
UK Company Passes Milestone in Developing Space-Based Solar Power, Aiming to Power a Million Homes and Provide Constant Energy
Mexico Breaks Diplomatic Ties with Ecuador after Police Storm Embassy, Arrest Former Vice President
Monty Python were so ahead of their time
If there's a will, there's a way!
Rules about how to dress are important, but not so much if you have a lot of money.
Body Armor Firm Showcases Stab-Proof Vest in Demo on CEO
Mexico Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Ecuador After Embassy Stormed in Quito
Here is a tattoo idea, for engineers
Zoraya Ter Beek, a 28-year-old woman from the Netherlands, will undergo euthanasia in May due to severe mental health challenges
Here's a video featuring Fidel Castro, where he discusses his stance against war and his commitment to preserving life, positions that have put him at odds with the USA:
Woman reaches behind and steals gun from a security guard and shoots three people while getting detained in Chile
Take a walk around the safe and thriving downtown San Salvador.
Joe Biden criticised by Trump campaign for declaring Transgender Day of Visibility on Easter Sunday
Macron says France will help Brazil develop nuclear-powered submarines
A video demonstrating women's self defense class in 1930
×