© Reuters. Wu Ken, China’s Ambassador to Germany, attends the welcome ceremony of the diplomatic corps at Bellevue Palace in Berlin, Germany, January 13, 2020. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse
(Corrects family name on second reference to Wu, not Ken)
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Plans for a tougher China strategy by Germany are “guided by ideology” and reflect a Cold War mentality that could put cooperation between the world’s second- and fourth-largest economies at risk, China’s ambassador to Berlin was quoted saying.
“What I read about it in the media and know from many conversations is very disconcerting to me,” Wu Ken told Handelsblatt. “The paper gives the impression that it is guided primarily by ideology. It is not based on the common interests of Germany and China.”
Germany is working on a new strategy taking a more sober look at its relations with China and aiming to reduce its dependence on Asia’s economic superpower.
“As far as I know, the paper exaggerates competition and confrontation between our two countries in a way that has nothing to do with reality. I’m also hearing that certain values and human rights are to be a prerequisite for cooperation in the future,” Wu said.
He added that if this happened it would put obstacles in the way of both countries’ cooperation.
“Moreover, according to the draft at least, Germany wants to coordinate its China policy more closely in future with ‘like-minded’ allies such as the U.S. This suggests that the German government is forfeiting its independence and is instead following the U.S. completely in matters of China policy.”
The planned measures include requirements for German firms particularly exposed to China to share details on that business with the government and undergo regular stress tests, according to the ministry’s “Internal Guidelines on China” seen by Reuters last month.
“In doing so, the German government is ultimately contradicting itself. After all, it has always emphasised that it is not aiming for a confrontation between different camps. To me, this smells suspiciously of a Cold War mentality,” Wu said.
(This story has been corrected to change the family name on second reference to Wu, not Ken)