NJust the evening before, a burnt child, the Federal President, recalled the mistakes of the past in dealing with Russia and warned Germany not to fall back into one-sided dependencies that could be exploited. This applies “particularly to China,” Steinmeier said explicitly.
Even the warning from the highest authority, which was just one of many, did not prevent the federal government from allowing the Chinese state-owned company Cosco to participate in a container terminal in the port of Hamburg. This is now only possible to a limited extent. But even this expands “German dependence on China disproportionately,” according to a memorandum of the Federal Foreign Office, which is said to have also been joined by the other ministries that were also completely opposed to Cosco’s participation.
The Chancellor pushed through Chinese participation
But the chancellor pushed them through, and certainly not just because, as a former mayor of Hamburg, he knows the concerns of the pepper bags particularly well. Scholz, who is traveling to Beijing in November, does not want to alienate Emperor Xi Jinping beforehand. German business leaders, who are thinking of their production facilities and the huge sales market, are also warning against “China bashing”. In international and transnational business, overreactions should indeed be avoided as much as possible. But German China policy is more at risk of underreacting – because the dependence on the extensive economic relations with Xi’s empire is already so great.
Not only Germany was naive. Many European countries have already allowed the Chinese to take control of operations and infrastructure (which the Europeans are denied in China). Therefore, in the case of Hamburg, Cosco was able to threaten to shift the business to other ports. This is not how Europeans should be played off against one another. At the moment, however, one must be happy if close partners such as Germany and France are not arguing so badly that the croissants fly.