China-Germany cooperation can be a stable link in turbulent world
Published: Oct 24, 2022 07:09 PM
China Germany: Xinhua

China Germany: Xinhua

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed on Friday that he will travel to China with a delegation of business leaders early November. "Decoupling is the wrong answer. We don't have to decouple from some countries," Scholz told a business conference in Berlin earlier this month. He also noted that "I say emphatically we must continue to do business with China." 

The timing and significance of Scholz's visit to China demonstrate Germany's willingness for closer diplomatic and economic ties with Beijing, which is also a very direct reflection of the desire of some European countries. Although there has been a lot of discussion about decoupling from China, European countries appeared to have taken into account their own economic interests, the welfare of their people, and their overall strategies, rather than blindly supporting Washington when the US seeks to promote more intensive strategic competition with China. Observers note that Scholz's visit this time is sincere and comes from a desire to collaborate. This trip is crucial for future collaboration between China and Germany as well as China and Europe. 

Germany is working on a new trade policy with China, and there are conflicting opinions within the German government. Considering the importance of future policies toward China, Scholz may want to acquire a more appropriate, accurate, and scientific positioning on the policies through his trip to China and extensive cooperation talks between business leaders on both sides, Liu Zuokui, deputy director of the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

From the standpoint of the global economy, China and Germany are both significant economies in the world. Global economic integration must be built on cooperation rather than decoupling. Germany's economy is closely linked to the globe, and the Chinese market is an increasingly pivotal market for Germany. For instance, a large part of the income of the automobile industry, on which Germany depends, comes from the Chinese market. Germany cannot decouple from China now, nor will it in the future. 

Furthermore, geopolitical coordination and collaboration between China and Europe will grow more and more vital and urgent. It may even be argued that it is a pillar of stability and positive change in the current global landscape. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has had a significant impact on both European and global security. The strategic autonomy of European countries is the key to solving the current security dilemma in Europe. The biggest problem with current European security is that the discord between the US and Russia influences the European security structure. The US cannot accept a closer Russia-Europe relationship.

In this case, building European security, as well as the overall security of Eurasia, depends on the realization of European strategic autonomy. If it can be realized, Europe's fate is in its own hands; otherwise, it is in the hands of the US, which is bound to be a fate filled with sharp confrontation with Russia and the division of Europe. Hence, the strengthening of Europe's sense and capacity of strategic autonomy is now more important than ever, and it can be said that this determines whether Europe will be able to achieve lasting stability and security in the future.

"Considering issues from the perspective of geopolits and ideology will only make cooperation more complicated," said Liu Zuokui, claiming that European countries, including Germany and France, need a process to explore their relations with China. Angela Merkel also politicized cooperation in the name of values when she first came to power, but she changed such an approach later.

An expert from China Foreign Affairs University also pointed out the hope that, as a major power and an economic engine of Europe, Germany can play a constructive role. An independent Germany is a Germany that the world looks forward to, while a Germany that blindly follows the US' lead is a Germany that makes itself and Europe unsafe.

Moreover, from the perspective of the entire world, the relationship between Russia and the US has essentially been broken. If China and Germany strengthen cooperation, it will become a stabilizing link in the current violently turbulent international situation. If China and Germany can achieve a greater degree of collaboration, it will have demonstrative benefits for European countries. The stability of the world is also inextricably linked to strategic coordination between China and Europe.

The author is a reporter with Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn