In China, Germany’s Baerbock says EU on same page as Macron

Annalena Baerbock kicked off her China visit in the port city of Tianjin. Germany’s Foreign Minister arrived in the Chinese port city of Tianjin to begin her three-day tour of the country, DW informs.

The diplomatic trip comes amid increased Chinese military maneuvers around Taiwan, and in the wake of China’s renewed support for Russia.

Baerbock appeared to offer some support to French President Emmanuel Macron whose comments on Europe’s need to pursue its own policies on China and Taiwan rather than just following the US have landed him in hot water with allies in Washington.

The German foreign minister said, responding the criticism, that Macron had “once again emphasized that France’s China policies reflected EU China policies one-to-one.” She said the strengths of the EU lay in the fact that “we are not only close to each other, but pursue joint strategic approaches on the central issues of our interests and values.”

Baerbock also warned against conflict in the Taiwan Strait, and the impact it would have on Germany and the EU. “A military escalation in the Taiwan Strait… would be a worst-case scenario globally and affect us as one of the biggest industrial nations in particular,” she said.

“Fifty percent of global trade passes through the Taiwan Strait, 70% of semiconductors pass through the Taiwan Strait, so the free passage is in our economic interest as well,” Baerbock said.

“For our country, a lot depends on whether we succeed in properly balancing our future relationship with China,” Baerbock said before departing Germany. “Partner, competitor, systemic rival: That is the compass of European China policy. In which direction the needle will swing in the future depends in part on which path China chooses.”

…It is significant how Baerbock has changed her rhetoric and refuses to criticize China. On the contrary, she opposes the American project ‘to create military tension around Taiwan’ and cares about the interests of Europe despite the US pressure. The impression is that European leaders – formerly Macron now Baerbock – have decided to bet on cooperation with Beijing in order to balance the noticeable US pressure on their politics and economy by the “Chinese factor”.