As the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) prepares to elect a new leader, the party is also reevaluating its stance towards China. Under Angela Merkel’s leadership, Germany maintained a cooperative relationship with China, prioritizing economic ties over political and human rights concerns. However, recent developments have led the CDU to reconsider this approach, paving the way for a new direction in Germany’s China policy.
The Current State of German-China Relations
For many years, Germany has enjoyed a strong economic relationship with China. China is Germany’s largest trading partner outside of Europe, and German companies have invested heavily in China’s rapidly growing economy. However, the CDU is starting to recognize that this economic cooperation has come at a cost. China’s growing power and assertiveness on the global stage, as well as its human rights abuses, have raised concerns in Germany and throughout the world.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed vulnerabilities in the global supply chain, with many countries now reconsidering their dependence on China for critical goods and services. As a result, the CDU is reassessing its China policy, seeking to strike a balance between economic interests and political values.
The CDU’s New Direction
The CDU’s new leader, whoever it may be, is likely to take a more critical approach towards China. While economic cooperation will remain important, the party is expected to prioritize human rights and political values in its dealings with China. This will likely include increased scrutiny of Chinese investment in Germany, as well as efforts to protect German companies from intellectual property theft and other unfair business practices.
Furthermore, the CDU is expected to take a stronger stance on China’s human rights abuses, particularly in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. The party may also be more vocal in its support of Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province.
Implications for Germany and the EU
Germany’s new China policy will have important implications for the country and the European Union as a whole. If the CDU takes a more critical stance towards China, it is likely that other European countries will follow suit. This could result in increased pressure on China to improve its human rights record and address concerns about unfair business practices.
Furthermore, a more critical approach towards China could lead to greater cooperation between Germany and the United States, which has also become more critical of China in recent years. This could strengthen the transatlantic relationship and help to counterbalance China’s growing influence on the global stage.
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