Baerbock's China lesson from Russia's failure: "Don't drive on sight so irresponsibly again"
Created: 04/01/2023 14:43
In an interview with Table.Media, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock defended her house's planned China strategy.
It's not about decoupling, it's about diversification.
Stefan Braun asked the questions.
In an interview with the new Berlin.Table, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warns of dependencies with states like China, which “does not share our values”.
Baerbock praised German medium-sized companies in connection with diversification – and criticized the Dax companies.
The interview is
available to IPPEN.MEDIA
as part of a cooperation with the
China.Table Professional Briefing -
first published it
on January 4, 2023.
There is growing concern in the SPD that the harsher tone - set by the Federal Foreign Office and the Ministry of Economic Affairs - could severely damage relations with China and endanger prosperity. Do you understand this concern?
There is growing concern in the SPD that the harsher tone - set by the Federal Foreign Office and the Ministry of Economic Affairs - could severely damage relations with China and endanger prosperity.
Do you understand this concern?
In a completely networked world, you cannot detach yourself from any region, and certainly not from one of the largest economies.
That is why the China strategy is not a decoupling strategy.
But we have seen what can happen when we make ourselves massively dependent on a country that doesn't share our values, that competes with our democracy as an autocratic regime.
It makes us vulnerable, and prevention is the best protection.
I see it as our responsibility as a government to protect ourselves from this by systematically positioning ourselves and the economy in foreign, digital, infrastructure and energy policies to meet global challenges.
Do you equate Russia and China?
Do you equate Russia and China?
But we have seen that in recent years China has not only distanced itself further and further from our democratic values, but also from international law and the rules for fair competition.
It is therefore in our very own economic interest not to make ourselves as dependent on China as we have been on Russia.
We can't just be so irresponsible and on the lookout, following the motto "it won't get that bad" - in the case of Russia, we're now paying dearly for it with countless billions of taxpayers' money.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on a trip: In an interview, she defends her planned China strategy, with which she wants to make Germany more independent from the People's Republic.
© Britta Pedersen/dpa
Baerbock: Praise for the long-term strategy of medium-sized companies doing business in China
But this will not remain without consequences. How do you explain the company and employees who fear for business and jobs?
But this will not remain without consequences.
How do you explain the company and employees who fear for business and jobs?
I usually don't have to explain much.
Many medium-sized and family businesses in particular practice smart risk management in their China business, are reducing investments in China due to the tougher pace of recent years and are diversifying in the Indo-Pacific.
With some DAX companies, one gets the impression that they simply ignore the economic risks, but also the long-term interests of their company, because the next five years alone count for the bonuses of the board members.
For a responsible government, however, the focus must be on the national economy.
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In this sense, the policy paper of the BDI from 2019 was a turning point for many, and after the war in Russia the desire for diversification increased further.
That's why Robert Habeck and I have jointly made suggestions for security-conscious foreign trade promotion.
A foreign policy, especially a foreign trade policy, that endangers Germany as a business location and thus our prosperity and social cohesion would not only be short-sighted, it would also be a security risk.
Has China become an enemy?
Has China become an enemy?
It would be a declaration of diplomatic bankruptcy if we did not at least try to have constructive relations with all countries.
At the core of our security strategy is that we want to cooperate and work together with other countries in as many areas as possible - while at the same time being able to act sovereignly and independently when others suddenly act to our detriment.
This is what European strategic sovereignty looks like to me.
This applies not only to infrastructure or semiconductors, but also to important medicines.
And it affects not only us, but also our neighbors.
If, out of concern for bad relationships with autocrats, I remain silent when there are serious breaches of the rules – then at the same time I damage the many other relationships with all the countries that are victims of these rule breaches and that we leave alone with their worries.
That's what we saw with Russia, and I don't want that to happen again in the Indo-Pacific.
This interview with Annalena Baerbock on China is an excerpt from a lengthy conversation that Berlin.Table had with the Foreign Minister. Other focal points were the Ukraine war, diplomacy with Iran and arms deals with Saudi Arabia. This excerpt was published in the China.Table Professional Briefing on January 4, 2023 - as part of a cooperation, it is now also available to the readers of the IPPEN.MEDIA portals.
This interview with Annalena Baerbock on China is an excerpt from a lengthy conversation that Berlin.Table had with the Foreign Minister.
Other focal points were the Ukraine war, diplomacy with Iran and arms deals with Saudi Arabia.
This excerpt was published in the China.Table Professional Briefing on January 4, 2023 - as part of a cooperation, it is now also available to the readers of the IPPEN.MEDIA portals.