• Strategy for a Decisive Decade (II)

    The German Foreign Ministry presents its draft strategy for escalation of the power struggle against China, planing Taiwan’s integration and economic coercion measures – such as boycotts of entire regions.

    BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) – In the midst of a power struggle against Russia, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is preparing another escalation in the power struggle against China. This has been confirmed by excerpts from the draft of a new German strategy toward China currently circulating in media reports. According to these, the foreign ministry is pushing for steps, intended (officially) to merely prevent dependence on the People's Republic of China, but aimed, in fact, at reducing German industry’s business with China. It also provides for the option of imposing import bans if desired on products from entire regions, for example from Xinjiang or Hong Kong. The paper simultaneously calls for steps to be taken in relationship to Taiwan that would be likely to test Beijing’s red lines. Moreover, the foreign ministry is making cooperation with China dependent on the extent that Beijing submits to German foreign policy and ceases all cooperation with Russia – a hint also in the direction of India or South Africa, showing what they too can expect in terms of cooperation with Germany. The consequences of an escalation of the conflict with China would considerably exceed those of the economic warfare waged against Russia. Read more

  • Strategy for a Decisive Decade

    Conflict escalates between the German Foreign Ministry and Chancellery over Germany’s new China strategy: Baerbock opts for aggressive political attacks. Washington sabotages Germany’s business relations with China.

    BERLIN/BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Own report) – While Germany’s new China strategy is being drafted, the dispute between the German foreign ministry and the chancellery is escalating over the intensity of the confrontation policy toward Beijing. Chancellor Olaf Scholz is pushing for maintaining a certain degree of economic cooperation despite the growing rivalry with the People’s Republic – in the interests of important branches of the German industry, which depend on China as a sales market and a research and development site. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is pushing for aggressive political attacks against Beijing – under the pretext of fighting for human rights. She does not even hesitate to publicly attack the chancellor, himself, while abroad. At the same, time, the USA is intensifying pressure in Berlin to scale back its economic cooperation with Beijing, interfering directly in concrete German-Chinese business deals. US President Biden sees a “decisive decade” ahead in the competition with China. In this context Berlin announced a new China strategy for the first quarter of 2023. Read more

  • The Dialectics of the China Business

    In the runup to Scholz’s visit to China, the dispute over Chinese investments in Germany persists. With continued growth, China’s industry could outpace its German competitors.

    HAMBURG/BEIJING (Own report) – In the runup to German Chancellor Scholz’s visit to China this week, the dispute over Chinese investments in Germany persists. The Chinese shipping company COSCO’s acquisition of a stake in a terminal in the port of Hamburg, agreed upon last year, was approved last week only with certain restrictions. Federal ministers from the FDP and Greens had done their best to prevent it. The dispute must be seen in the context of the contradictions in Germany’s economic development. While numerous German companies, and even entire industrial branches, continue to profit massively from their close cooperation with the People’s Republic, the intense cooperation is, in turn, also strengthening Chinese industry – at the expense of their German competitors. COSCO, for example, with a global market share of eleven percent of container shipping, has already bypassed Hamburg’s Hapag-Lloyd shipping company and threatens to outpace it in the long run. A recent study by the Berlin-based MERICS think tank illustrates similar developments pertaining to German automotive companies’ involvement with China. Read more

  • Playing with Fire (III)

    German Bundestag delegation on visit to Taiwan seeks to promote its “independence,” declaring the island – part of China under international law – a “nation.” Washington maximizes pressure on Beijing.

    BERLIN/TAIPEI (Own report) – With its visit to Taiwan, a German Bundestag delegation seeks to promote its “independence,” thus threatening to exacerbate tensions over the island. Over the weekend, leader of the delegation, Peter Heidt (FDP), declared the visit serves to support “Taiwan as a nation.” German parliamentarians are thereby violating the globally recognized One-China-Principle, which had also been confirmed by the UN General Assembly already decades ago. In case a peaceful reunification with Taiwan is rendered impossible – for example by a formal secession of the island or its official recognition as a separate state – China reserves the right to intervene militarily. Berlin’s offensive, which is in line with similar statements by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock for example, disregards the majority of the Taiwanese population’s wish not to challenge the highly sensitive status quo. The USA is arming Taiwan – with the same weapons systems it had provided Ukraine before Russia’s intervention, for the case that a provocation, such as the one by Berlin, incites Beijing to take military action. Read more

  • Playing with Fire

    The Bundestag delegation’s visit to Taiwan exacerbates the conflict with China. The West attempts to pit Taiwan against Beijing – even in strategic military terms.

    BERLIN/TAIPEI/BEIJING (Own report) – A several-day visit to Taiwan by a Bundestag delegation is provoking new tensions between Germany and China. The six-member delegation of politicians – with a representative from each of the parties in the Bundestag – has also met with President Tsai Ing-wen. An expansion of future relations is planned. The conflict between Berlin and Beijing over the Taiwan policy is not based on the relations as such, which have existed since the 1950s and are in some respects considered close. The conflict revolves more around the western nations’ efforts to politically enhance Taiwan’s clout, to develop it into a counter-model to the People’s Republic of China in the West’s power struggle against China. In addition, the United States, in particular, aims to significantly weaponize Taiwan, to strategically use it militarily against China – as one of the so-called First Island Chain. In the context of plans to pit Taipei against Beijing, the seemingly harmless parliamentary visits – for example Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taipei – play an important role. Read more

  • The West’s Limited Narratives

    Berlin-based think tank warns against trying to internationally isolate China. In Africa, Asia and Latin America, Beijing is appreciated as cooperation partner and quite popular.

    BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) – A Berlin-based think tank, specialized on China, warns against trying to internationally isolate the People’s Republic, as with Russia. Attitudes towards China diverged widely from “mainstream narratives” in the western world, according to a study by the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS). It is of major importance to understand how “actors outside the usual grouping of rich, liberal market economies” view the shifting global dynamics, and how they think about Europe. In fact, the Western public’s extremely negative perception of China is generally not shared outside the West. On the contrary, sometimes the People’s Republic enjoys an even greater popularity than the United States. Non-western elites usually appreciate Beijing, because it does not lecture governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America and because the Chinese market and Chinese investments offer huge opportunities. If the EU does not want to fall behind Beijing, it must take vigorous action, according to MERICS. Read more

  • Entry into Decline

    Berlin plans coercive measures to downscale German business activities in China. The reason: German investments in China, the market of the future, are increasing more than ever.

    BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) – The German government is planning coercive measures to downscale German companies’ business activities in China. According to reports, the German Ministry of Economics is not only preparing to severely restrict the usual government guarantees for foreign business ventures for business in the People’s Republic. Introducing compulsory notification for investments in China is also in discussion – with the possibility of rejection. Similar measures in the USA serve as a model. Berlin is reacting to the fact that it has not yet succeeded in downscaling business activities in China. According to a recent study, German investments in – as well as exports from – the People’s Republic have reached all-time highs in the first half of 2022. This has resulted from German companies not discontinuing, but rather “localizing” their activities in China, to make them crisis-proof. The People’s Republic is considered an indispensable market of the future. The coercive measures being pursued by Berlin, particularly by the Green-led ministries, are likely to drive German industry into decline. Read more

  • Strategic Rethinking in Berlin (II)

    CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation proposes an expansion of German military activities in the Asian-Pacific Realm. Power struggle against China threatens to dangerously escalate.

    BEIJING/BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) – The CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation proposes that Germany expand its military activities in the Asian-Pacific realm. Admittedly, the Bundeswehr already has much on its plate with the reinforcement of “NATO’s European pillar,” involving the preparation of “three combat-ready divisions with eight to ten combat brigades.” But the Bundeswehr could additionally orient itself toward “a significant permanent military engagement in the Indo-Pacific,” for example with the dispatchment of German warships, “on a rotating or a permanent basis.” The “more frequent and substantial participation“ of German troops “in military exercises in the Indo-Pacific” should contribute particularly toward “improving the interoperability and exchange of information,” according to a strategy paper just published by the foundation. The document also names activities to be undertaken by the EU in cooperation with the riparian countries of the South China Sea – with the objective that “these form a counterweight to China.” Because the intensified confrontation with China could lead to hefty upheavals, the paper advises that this must be “explained to the German public.” Read more

  • Strategic Rethinking in Berlin (I)

    CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation outlines options to escalate confrontation with China, but does not rule out “considerable damage” to German industry.

    BEIJING/BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) – Berlin is considering an intensification of its confrontational policy toward the People's Republic of China. This is apparent in a strategy paper recently presented by the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The proposals in the paper include an intensified interference in the domestic affairs of China, “public campaigns,” accusing Beijing of “disinformation and propaganda,” as well as attempts in Africa to alienate China, as a cooperation partner. At the same time, the “resilience” of the domestic population must be strengthened – for example, with “a strategic media and information policy in Germany and the EU.” To weaken the People’s Republic’s position in the global economy, the CDU’s foundation suggests that the globally anchored WTO be replaced by a new alliance merging the G7 with the OECD (“WTO of the West”). The foundation points out, however, that Chinese resistance and massive damage to German enterprises are to be expected – at a time when Germany’s economy is already beginning to suffer heavily under the war of sanctions against Russia. Read more

  • The Lithium Gap

    Germany depends on China for Lithium supply, a vital raw material for the energy transition. In Bolivia, a Russian rather than a German company, may obtain access to Lithium.

    BERLIN (Own report) – Germany and the EU depend on Chinese companies for access to Lithium, one of the most important raw materials for the energy transition. Chinese companies dominate the global lithium sector – not only in mining, but also in processing and battery production. For the US to catch up to China in the lithium sector, it could take decades and at least US $175 billion in investments, according to estimates. The required investment would be no less for Germany and the EU. This is all the more significant, because experts are predicting a serious shortage of lithium in the years to come. Chinese producers would be at an advantage over their European competitors in the production of electric cars, whose batteries consume the bulk of the lithium being mined globally. Experts already expect that, in the foreseeable future, Chinese electric car manufacturers will conquer the cheaper segment of the European market, which European car manufacturers neglect. One of Germany’s flagship sectors would thus come under pressure on the domestic market. Read more