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इंडियन आवाज़     13 Apr 2024 11:34:22      انڈین آواز

Germany highlights “fundamental differences” with China on human rights

(Last Updated On: 22/01/2022)

AMN/ WEB DESK

Chinese and German foreign ministers held their first virtual meet in which China urged Germany to avoid “megaphone diplomacy” whereas the new German foreign minister highlighted “fundamental differences” on human rights, a possible sign that Berlin may take a more critical stance than under Angela Merkel. As the new government has taken over in Berlin, Beijing is concerned that Berlin will move away from Merkel’s engagement policy.

“On the basis of mutual respect, we should conduct an equal dialogue on issues such as human rights and democracy, enhance mutual understanding and not engage in megaphone diplomacy,” a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry said, highlighting Beijing’s dislike of other countries making their criticisms public.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, that the two countries had to lead the relationship between China and Europe. But Baerbock highlighted “fundamental differences” with China on human rights, signalling a possible change in approach under the new government. A statement released by her office after the meeting said that while close cooperation with China was important in many areas, such as tackling climate change and environmental policy, respect for international law and the rules-based international order were also needed. “The talks therefore also addressed issues where fundamental differences of opinion exist – including with regard to human rights,” the statement said. Baerbock has pledged to adopt a combination of “dialogue and toughness” in dealing with Beijing. Last month she called for an EU-wide import ban on goods made using forced labour, a practice Beijing denies in Xinjiang.

The statement from the foreign ministry in Beijing said the two nations agreed to boost high-level financial, diplomatic and security dialogue. China-EU relations have become increasingly tense, with an investment deal being put on hold last year following an exchange of sanctions over Xinjiang. Beijing’s efforts to cement its relationship with the new German government have seen both President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang holding phone conversations with Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the past two months. On Monday Li told Scholz that the two nations should focus on “pragmatic” economic cooperation. He also said China would be willing to use “fast track” arrangements for travel between the two countries if this was deemed practicable.

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