Reality Check: Why does Scholz's China trip point to a better world?
Editor's note: Mr. Scholz’s China trip is the first by a major Western leader since the pandemic began. The message can’t be clearer: Responsible powers must join hands to improve and enhance global trade and investment, leading to greater peace and stability, instead of focusing on differences which only serve to further divide the world.
Despite much Western opposition, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to China has succeeded in energizing the relationship between the world’s second largest economy and the EU’s most influential country.
The recent trip came amongst fierce debate over Germany’s economic ties with China, with accusations of so-called German “dependence” on China…accusations which have been largely exaggerated.
China has been Germany’s largest trading partner for six consecutive years. Bilateral trade last year grew over 15 percent from 2020. One German economist noted that around 3 percent of the country’s work force – or over 1 million jobs – come from exports to China.
One German businessman said that “despite all odds and challenges, China remains unrivaled in terms of market size and market growth opportunities for many German companies.”
Speaking at a recent financial forum in Hong Kong, Colm Kelleher, Chair of UBS – the world’s biggest wealth manager – said, quote, “We’re not reading the American press, we actually buy the [China] story,” adding that “global bankers are all ‘very pro-China’ .”
In a nutshell, the talk of “decoupling from China” is misleading, and Mr. Scholz’s China trip was a wise decision; not only for Germany… but also the world.
In the West, there has been growing out-of-control noise about ideological and geopolitical competition between the West and China. Scholz’s visit has set the record straight, renewing the importance of continuous investment and trade among nations.
“Reliability and trust – these two values play an important role in German and Chinese cultures,” said Mr. Scholz, adding that these values form the basis of partnerships.
Chinese President Xi Jinping says Scholz’s visit will enhance trust between Beijing and Berlin and will enable more cooperation.
With energy shortages, food insecurity, climate change, the Ukraine conflict and a looming Cold War 2.0 from the U.S., a grave question for all of us is: can we work together to face these challenges? Or will we continue to engage in political fights while the world is on fire?
Cooperation begets partnership, followed by stability and prosperity. Picking ideological fights is easy, but what are the consequences? Instability, confrontation, and the possibility of military conflict or even a third World War in which everyone suffers.
There are no winners in such a fight.
Mr. Scholz’s China trip is the first by a major Western leader since the pandemic began. The message can’t be clearer: Responsible powers must join hands to improve and enhance global trade and investment, leading to greater peace and stability, instead of focusing on differences which only serve to further divide the world.