Germany’s “Traffic Light Coalition” agreed in its coalition treaty in 2021 to put forward a China Strategy, highlighting the importance that the new Government attributes to China. During this afternoon debate at the East China Normal University (ECNU), Chinese and German representatives and scholars discussed the background and prospects of the China-Strategy project.
Nils Schmid, member of the German Parliament, explained the current status of Germany’s China-policy and the background of the strategy’s drafting. He reiterated the EU-formula of China as a partner, competitor and rival and the German determination to achieve de-risking and diversification from China, not decoupling.
Shi Mingde, former Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Germany, shared his views on the China debate in Germany, deploring the overall negative tone of the first paper draft. According to Mr Shi, the rivalry aspect should not become the dominant element in relations. Not only China had changed, but also Germany. The two presentations were met with comments by 93-year old Yang Chengxu, former Chinese Ambassador to Austria and President of the China Institute for International Studies (CIIS) and Dr. Marina Rudyak from the University of Heidelberg.
The discussion underlined how bilateral relations have to increasingly be contextualised with global affairs: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, tensions around Taiwan and relations with the US were all identified as key elements shaping Sino-German relations and the perception of each other.
As Dr. Rudyak said, re-establishing communication after three years of pandemic-related silence is of great importance to gain better understanding of each other’s positions and perceptions.