The Chinese Foreign Ministry has summoned the German ambassador Patricia Flor after German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dictator.” The ambassador was summoned to the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Sunday, according to a spokesman from the German Foreign Ministry.
Baerbock made her comment while visiting New York on Thursday. In an interview with Fox News, she stated that if the West allowed Ukraine to lose its conflict with Russia, it would empower “other dictators in the world…Like Xi, the Chinese president.”
Beijing expressed its strong dissatisfaction with Baerbock’s remarks. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning stated that Baerbock’s comments were “extremely dissatisfying,” describing them as an “open political provocation” that violated China’s political dignity.
The strained relations between Berlin and Beijing have been exacerbated by Germany’s first-ever China strategy, published in July, which calls for reduced economic reliance on China. Despite China being Germany’s largest trading partner, the strategy document labels Beijing a “systemic rival.”
Baerbock’s labeling of Xi as a “dictator” follows a similar comment made by US President Joe Biden in June. Biden used the same descriptor after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s meeting with Xi in Beijing. Biden’s statement reportedly led American officials to reassure their Chinese counterparts that his words did not indicate a shift in US policy.
The tension between Germany and China highlights the growing confrontations between Western nations and China over issues such as human rights abuses, territorial disputes, and economic competition. As China’s influence continues to expand globally, Western countries are grappling with how to navigate their relationships with the emerging superpower.
The war of words between Baerbock and Beijing reflects the broader geopolitical struggles between the West and China. It underscores the challenges faced by Western diplomats in balancing economic interests with the need to address China’s human rights violations and assertive behavior in the international arena.
Moreover, the incident further highlights the complex and delicate nature of international diplomacy. Diplomats must carefully choose their words and actions to avoid damaging relationships and escalating tensions. In this case, Baerbock’s comment has led to a direct confrontation between Germany and China, potentially impacting various aspects of the bilateral relationship, including trade, investment, and cultural exchanges.
As the situation unfolds, it will be crucial for both Germany and China to engage in constructive dialogue to address the underlying issues and work towards a more stable and cooperative relationship. Effective communication and diplomacy will be essential in navigating these challenges and maintaining global stability.