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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