China is strongly dissatisfied with the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s statements, who described Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dictator” in an interview, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing said on Monday.
This statement is “extremely absurd” and seriously infringes on China’s dignity, Mao Ning, a ministry spokesperson, said, calling Baerbock’s remarks an “open political provocation.”
China’s Foreign Ministry also said that it had made “solemn representations to the German side through diplomatic channels.”
What did Baerbock say about Xi?
As part of her trip to the United States last week, Baerbock gave a live interview to Fox News in which, when asked about Russia’s war against Ukraine, she made comments that outraged China.
In the interview, Baerbock stressed the German government’s support for Ukraine. “We will support Ukraine as long as it takes,” she told Fox News, when asked how the government in Berlin saw the end of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine.
“If Putin were to win this war, what sign would that be for other dictators in the world, like Xi, like the Chinese president? Therefore, Ukraine has to win this war,” Baerbock said.
In June, US President Joe Biden also called Xi a “dictator” a day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded a visit to China aimed at stabilizing ties.
Germany’s new China policy
China is China’s top trading partner, but Berlin released a new policy in July to compete with a more “assertive” Beijing after months of wrangling within the government over its strategy.
Berlin’s new China policy marks a good balance between the two different positions in the German coalition government and describes Beijing as a “partner, competitor, systemic rival.”
While German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat, has a more trade-friendly stance toward China, Baerbock, a Green politician, is an outspoken critic of Beijing.
In August, she said China posed a challenge to the “fundamentals of how we live together in this world.” Earlier, she described aspects of a trip to China as “more than shocking” and said Beijing was increasingly becoming more of a systemic rival than a trade partner.
dh/rc (AFP, Reuters)
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