Strategic Shifts

BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) – Disputes over US military provocations are accompanying the German chancellor’s current visit to China. After a US Navy destroyer transited through the maritime waters claimed by Beijing near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, the Chinese government summoned the US ambassador. German government sources have confirmed that this conflict will play a role in the talks, Angela Merkel will hold today in Beijing, and expect discord. Berlin is already in a difficult position. The transformation of China’s economy from an investment-driven to a consumer- and service-driven growth model will be of disadvantage to the German industry. “German capital goods and automobiles” will most likely “no longer enjoy the same levels of demand growth in China as previously,” according to Sebastian Heilmann, Director of the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) in Berlin. Because of the structural transformation of China’s economy, the “country’s demand for access to finance and currency markets, as well as general demand for service-related know-how” has increased massively. In this respect, Great Britain “is much better positioned than Germany.” A “strategic shift is taking place in European-Chinese relations” – away from Berlin and towards London.

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Using Double Talk (II)

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) – On the occasion of the German chancellor’s visit to China, Berlin’s China experts are predicting tangible “turbulences” in German-Chinese relations. Chancellor Merkel is, above all, using her visit to the People’s Republic to seek new business opportunities for German industry. However, growing tensions between the USA and China could soon be expected, according to a recent statement by the director of Berlin’s Mercator Institute for China Studies. Germany and the EU will have to more clearly choose sides than has previously been the case. Government advisors are also proposing that relationships in the field of security policy with member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) be enhanced. This would strengthen the German-EU position in China’s direct vicinity and could possibly be combined with cautious naval expeditions. Comprehensive arms deliveries are flanking these plans for a closer military cooperation. Three East and Southeast Asian countries are among the top-ten customers of German military hardware. They are among those countries, Washington is seeking to pit against China. Continue reading