Home Featured China’s PM focuses on trade and climate, ignores Scholz’s Ukraine plea
China’s PM focuses on trade and climate, ignores Scholz’s Ukraine plea

China’s PM focuses on trade and climate, ignores Scholz’s Ukraine plea

by host

BERLIN — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday reiterated his appeal to China to use its influence on Russia to help end the war in Ukraine. But his guest from Beijing wanted to talk about deepening trade ties instead.

In a statement to journalists following a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, Scholz said that he had “again appealed to the Chinese government to exert even more influence on the Russian government in this war.”

He added: “As a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, China carries a very special duty here … Russia must — as we see it — withdraw its troops; otherwise it will not be possible to achieve a good peace.”

However, there was no sign that Scholz’s plea — which he previously issued during a visit to Beijing last year — bore fruit: Standing next to Scholz, Li told journalists China wants closer economic cooperation with Germany but avoided any mention of Russia or Ukraine.

The two leaders met in Berlin on the occasion of the 7th German-Chinese government consultations, which involves a forum on economic and technological cooperation as well as talks on climate protection and the transition toward green technologies.

Scholz also stressed that “it is important that China continues to not deliver weapons to the aggressor, Russia” and expressed thanks that Beijing continued to oppose Russia’s threats to use nuclear weapons.

In an apparent reaction to Beijing’s peace plan for Ukraine, which has been criticized for being too Russia-friendly, Scholz said that any peace must not come at the expense of Ukraine’s “right to territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

Turning to the fight against climate change, Scholz emphasized the “particular responsibility” of Germany and China to act given that they are both “major emitters of carbon dioxide.”

The German-Chinese meeting in Berlin took place just as the EU unveiled efforts to ban companies from making sensitive tech in China, and as Germany and other Western countries are eager to “de-risk” their economies by reducing dependencies on China in terms of supply chains and imports of raw materials.

In an apparent reaction to those plans, Li warned that “deglobalization flares up again.”

He said, “We should maintain the tradition of mutually beneficial cooperation and uphold the multilateral trading system and industry and supply chain stability.”

The Chinese premier also called for expanding cooperation on smart manufacturing, electric cars and technological exchange.

Controversially, Scholz used his remarks to also urge “freedom and openness” for journalists working in China but neither leader took questions from the journalists in the room — an unusual habit for press conferences of the German chancellor. German officials said no questions were taken at the request of the Chinese side.

Instead, the press conference ended with a group of Chinese journalists applauding Li’s remarks.

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