China has voiced its criticism of Germany’s new strategy for its relations with the People’s Republic. The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned the move, calling it “counterproductive” after Berlin declared that it would reduce its reliance on the Chinese economy. During a press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin expressed his concern, suggesting that the new policy would harm bilateral ties. He emphasized that Beijing would prefer to see Germany as a partner rather than a rival. Wang Wenbin stated, “We believe that it is counterproductive to compete and practice protectionism in the name of ‘de-risking’ and ‘reducing dependence,’ and to overstretch the concept of security and politicize normal cooperation. Such moves will only generate risks.” He added that Germany’s approach will “exacerbate the division of the world.”
Germany’s new strategy, released by the German Foreign Office, labeled China as a “strategic rival” and called for a reduction in trade with the country. The 40-page document accuses Beijing of trying to make other nations “more dependent on China.” It highlights Germany’s reliance on China in various sectors, including metals and rare-earth elements, medical technology and pharmaceuticals, information technology, and products used to produce semiconductors. Currently, China is Germany’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching a record €300 billion ($337 billion) in 2022.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz clarified that the goal of the strategy is not to disconnect from the Chinese economy but to avoid critical dependencies in the future. He acknowledged that Germany must respond to Beijing’s more offensive stance in recent years and called for a new framework for relations. Despite expressing concerns about China, the strategy also includes plans to enhance engagement with Beijing. It recognizes China as an indispensable partner on issues such as climate change, food security, mitigation, and resolving international economic crises.
In response, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman emphasized that cooperation with Berlin outweighs competition and expressed hope that Germany would adopt a rational and practical China policy.
Germany’s new strategy reflects growing concerns among Western countries regarding their economic and strategic reliance on China. As tensions between China and the West escalate, countries like Germany are seeking to diversify their trading partners and reduce their vulnerability to Chinese influence. However, balancing economic interests with geopolitical considerations remains a complex challenge.
The outcome of Germany’s strategy will have implications for both the country’s economy and its broader relationship with China. As Germany seeks to reduce its dependence on China, it may face challenges in finding alternative trading partners and ensuring the stability of its supply chains. Moreover, China’s strong reaction to Germany’s approach highlights the depth of China’s economic influence and its determination to preserve its position as a global economic power.
In conclusion, Germany’s decision to scale down its business with Beijing and diversify its trading partners has faced criticism from China. The new strategy reflects concerns about China’s increasing influence and aims to reduce critical dependencies while maintaining engagement on certain issues. The evolving dynamic between Germany and China will be a significant factor in shaping the future of global economic and geopolitical relations.