Germany’s next government signals new foreign policy towards China | DW News

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Germany’s new government is promising a tougher stance on China. How far will it break with Angela Merkel’s pragmatic approach to Beijing?

Germany will follow a tougher approach towards relations with China as a new coalition government prepares to be sworn in next week here in Berlin. The government headed by Social democract Olaf Scholz will have the Green Party’s Annalena Baerbock as Foreign Minister. In an interview to German newspaper Taz she laid out her vision for Berlin’s interactions with Beijing. She said “Dialogue is the central building block of international politics. But that doesn’t mean we gloss over issues or remain silent on them. Foreign policy based on values is always a combination of dialogue and toughness. Eloquent silence is not a form of diplomacy for the long-term, though many have believed so in recent years.”

Those remarks are a clear shot at the foreign policy of Angela Merkel. But her approach has been an evolving one. She began her chancellorship being vocal about human rights in China. And drew the ire of Beijing by holding talks with the Dalai Llama. But Merkel soon pivoted to her trademark strategic, pragmatic outlook — favoring engagement over confrontation. She’s been reluctant to criticize or antagonize China on the hot button issues of Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan. And she’s stayed clear of Beijing’s trade war with Washington. Instead she’s sought to tighten economic ties, taking German corporate leaders on her trips to Beijing. But critics say she’s given China too much leeway, and put business interests before human rights.

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