Germany’s Maas calls for cooperation, not confrontation, with China

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that despite the profound differences between Germany and China, the two countries should focus on cooperation, rather than confrontation, in comments on Wednesday ahead of talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

“Disengagement is the wrong path in our view,” said Maas. His talks with Wang are part of German-Chinese intergovernmental consultations.

The talks are usually hosted alternately by each country, attended by government leaders and ministers. However, one-to-one ministerial meetings have been held by video this year due to the pandemic.

China is a partner, competitor and systemic rival, Maas said, calling on Berlin to keep all three dimensions in mind and adding that robust channels were needed for dialogue.

Constructive dialogue is particularly important to resolve conflict, Maas said, citing the coup in Myanmar and nuclear dispute with Iran.

It is also important to talk about “difficult issues” such as human rights in China, he said.

Next Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang are to host a video conference between the two countries’ cabinets.

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