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Beijing: Germany's tougher China strategy 'guided by ideology', reflects Cold War mentality

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
China's Ambassador to Germany Wu Ken (file photo)

Beijing has slammed Berlin's plans for adopting a tougher China strategy that could put cooperation between two of the world's largest economies at risk.

Te remark was made by China's Ambassador to Berlin Wu Ken, while speaking to Germany's Handelsblatt business newspaper on Sunday.

He was reacting to a German strategy paper that has called for unprecedented restrictions on the two countries' relations. The paper titled "Internal Guidelines on China," which has been issued by the German economy ministry, leaked last month and was reported by various international media outlets. It calls for Germany's further economic independence from China, advising that Berlin limit its imports from the country and restrict German companies' contribution to the Chinese economy.

“The importance of China as an export market for many German industrial sectors as well as critical dependencies in certain … areas could make Germany vulnerable to blackmail and restrict its political capacity to act,” the paper reads.

China’s development is described in the paper as very problematic and further in the direction of systemic rivalry, away from partnership. 

Reflecting on the 104-page paper, which is to be published officially later this year, Wu called it menacing to the countries' mutual ties.

The German strategy toward China, the ambassador said, is "guided by ideology" instead of being "based on the common interests of Germany and China," and could put the countries' cooperation at risk.

"What I read about it in the media and know from many conversations is very disconcerting to me," he added.

"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...," Wu added.

The ambassador further expressed alarm that, in line with the draft, Germany was about to try modeling its China economic policy after that of its allies, such as the United States.

"This suggests that the German government is forfeiting its independence and is instead following the US completely in matters of China policy," he noted, while expressing regret that the new German guideline "smells suspiciously of a Cold War mentality."

According to the the paper's guidelines, Germany would try to impose restrictions on its development financing for China, and prevent outbound German investments if they are headed to the Chinese security sector.

Observers say the potential German economic attitude towards China could, by extension, inspire Berlin's overall approach to the Asian powerhouse, thus endangering the fruitful cooperation between the world's respectively fourth and second largest economies.

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