German Chancellor says he does not want to ‘decouple’ from Beijing, but still sees no problem with Washington calling attacks
Defending his trip to China this week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speak that he doesn’t want his country “To separate” from Beijing. On the other hand, there is evidence that Berlin, like other Western allies, is facing growing pressure from Washington to ease the pressure.
While Scholz in China proclaimed the importance of trade with Beijing as the German economy was sanctioned by the EU for gas supplies from Russia, he also warned against relying too much on China. However, what about being ordered by Washington? Anything about that being an issue?
Just before Scholz set off on his trip, his secretary of state, Annalena Baerbock, saw China as an inevitable partner in a globalized world, but also told Der Spiegel that Beijing has “A competitor and increasingly a systemic one.” The same can be said of Washington, which has encouraged the European Union to punish itself for economic turmoil in the interests of sticking with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Ukraine. However, strangely, Baerbock has no word on the need to maintain complete independence from the US, as they want to replace Russian gas supplies to the EU with free US molecules. at two to four times the price on the domestic US market.
Not that Scholz is unaware of the headache the US is causing Europe as the administration of US President Joe Biden has found all the stops due to the looming recession. Scholz even met a few days ago in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the need for both leaders against US protectionism and the unfair tilt of the global playing field through corporate energy and tax incentives at a time when European industry is grappling with reducing energy costs and facing Scholz. Internal pressure from Macron’s halting of hundreds of billions of euros in government aid to German companies in the face of the risk of distorting the EU market.
But behind the photos taken with Macron and the public posting, the behind-the-scenes reality regarding the level of push and shove Berlin is willing to tolerate from Washington seems much different.
Last month, China acquired a stake in the German port of Hamburg. Now, however, a US State Department official has bragged to the Western press that China’s market share has dropped from 35% to 25% due to pressure from the US embassy. “The embassy was very clear that we specifically suggested that there would be no controlling interest by China, and as you can see when they adjusted the agreement there was none,” official tell the press.
Washington is now in front of the full-court press to convince its allies to isolate China, the same way they managed to get Europe to cut off Russian energy “to Ukraine” – for the ultimate competitive and economic benefit. end of the US. There is nothing quite like the EU’s economic engine becoming increasingly dependent on the US for energy.
And Germany is not the only ally pressured to conform to Washington’s agenda. American officials are expected to travel to the Netherlands next week to talk about block sale of IC components to China. Japan is also expected to follow new US export controls targeting China’s chip industry. Canada is citing national security to sell Chinese shares in three lithium mines. Canadian Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says the country welcomes foreign direct investment, but not when it threatens “Critical Minerals Supply Chain” which is exactly the kind of “friendship” – reducing participation in supply chains only for allies – that Washington suggested and claimed over the summer with the implication that countries are on Washington’s Team or are different from each other. Russia and China. Once again, national security was used as an excuse to justify aggression – this time in economic rather than military warfare.
Whether Scholz will carry out the task of siding with Washington in the interest of defending German sovereignty remains to be seen. There have been hints of what might happen if he did. For example, African countries were threatened by the US earlier this year with punishment to trade with Russia and China. Just days ago, Japan dealt a blow to a Washington-led effort to get the G7 countries involved in Russia’s global gas price control with a price cap when Tokyo announced that it was holding shares. its share in Russia’s Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project – if only because its economy needs to import Russian fuel. So the big question is: What will the US do to solve this problem? Punish Japan – or let it slide?
If Scholz does the same to protect his own country’s energy supply – namely the Nord Stream pipeline network running from Russia straight into Germany – if it does, for example, threatens to kick the US out of its bases military in Germany if they give Berlin any grief it will not only be a clear display of the mainstay, but will put him in a much better position to call the shots today.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author only and do not necessarily represent RT.