Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has warned China to ensure that no so-called dual-use goods are supplied to Russia that could also be used as military equipment. The German government expects China "to exert appropriate influence on its companies," Baerbock said at a joint press conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Berlin. She pointed out that another EU sanctions package against Russia is currently being negotiated in Brussels. It is important that these sanctions are not undermined.
For the first time, the EU Commission wants to impose export bans on Chinese companies for supporting Russia in the war against Ukraine. A list available to the F.A.Z. includes a total of eight companies from the People's Republic, six of which are based in Hong Kong. In view of the key role that electronic components play in Russia's war, it is appropriate, according to the Commission's reasoning, to extend the export bans to companies from third countries involved in the circumvention of sanctions.
"Sometimes more than shocking"
The talks between Annalena Baerbock and Qin Gang in Berlin are likely to serve as preparation for the german-China intergovernmental consultations planned for June, to which the new Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang has been invited to Berlin.
Political exchange between Beijing and Berlin had recently increased noticeably after the end of the pandemic. In mid-April, Baerbock had already traveled to China for her first visit. Once again, clear differences became apparent. Among other things, Baerbock had expressed concern about the dangers of an escalation of tensions around Taiwan and about the curtailment of human rights in China. "What China needs least of all is a teacher from the West," Chinese Foreign Minister Qin replied.
After her return, Baerbock spoke even more clearly. On the occasion of a government questioning in the Bundestag, she explained that what she had experienced in China had been "really more than shocking". "For us, China is a partner, competitor and systemic rival," said the Foreign Minister. However, her impression is "unfortunately that the aspect of 'systemic rival' is becoming more and more important". This is because China is "more offensive externally, one can also say more aggressive" and "more repressive internally".
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) campaigned on Tuesday for "a self-confident and realistic approach to China." It needs "a less velvet-pawed appearance" than the previous governments had shown, said Lindner in the news podcast of the news portal "The Pioneer". "We won't let our liberal values be bought off for good business."
Lindner had canceled his trip to China planned for this week on Monday. The Chinese Ministry of Finance had asked for a postponement of the visit at the weekend for scheduling reasons, said a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Finance in Berlin. According to the information, the meeting in Beijing will be held at a later date.
"Mr. Lindner is of course welcome here," Qin said on Tuesday in Berlin. Many preparations have already been made for the visit. Unfortunately, the Chinese finance minister was busy elsewhere, which is why the meeting had to be postponed. However, the Chinese government hopes to "soon be able to welcome Lindner to China".
It is unclear whether the cancellation is also related to China's relationship with Lindner and his FDP. In March, Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) traveled to Taiwan and caused displeasure in Beijing. Lindner himself had recently criticized China's stance on Russia's war against Ukraine and also called for human rights issues to be addressed openly.