Fear of recession sends German Chancellor to Beijing

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Photo Credit Twitter Hua Chunying, Chinese spokesperson

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, November 4: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz followed in the footsteps of Pakistani Prime minister Shehbaz Sharif to fete Chinese President Xi Jinping for bagging the record third term as the general secretary of the Communist Party. While the democratic world cautiously watches Xi steering China to an Orwellian totalitarian state, Scholz became the first from the G7 countries to visit Beijing.

Germany hit hard by the energy crisis as the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine leaned on Xi for an early end to the raging Ukrainian war. With Germany tied for its energy needs to Russia, Scholz is faced with the challenge to save his country from slipping into recession while the harsh Winter looms in Europe. China in 2016 had become the largest trading partner of Germany, and Scholz took a large business delegation of the CEOs for a reset in the bilateral trade.

The hurry on the part of Scholz to visit Beijing has been widely criticised, with German political leaders and strategic thinkers questioning him for legitimizing the Xi regime when China threatens war on Taiwan, a close ally of the US. In his meeting with Scholz, Xi sought a key role for China in the post-Ukraine war world order, stressing on the needs to work closer for “world peace and development”.

Scholz’s visit to Beijing also came at a time when the US and the other western countries are seeking a China Plus in resetting the global supply chain and cut down dependence on the second largest economy of the world. The ‘Zero Covid Policy’ of China has cast a gloomy shadow over the global supply chain, while Beijing continues to hold back the information about the extent of the outbreak of the pandemic, while a few video leakages show that it continues to clamp harsh measures against its citizens in the name of the pandemic management.

Both Germany and Pakistan, the heads of the two countries have feted Xi so far, are heavily dependent on China. While the Pakistani economy is in chaos, forcing Sharif to continue taking additional costly Chinese loans, Germany is clearly looking for a larger market in China to ensure its manufacturing bases running. Germany is not yet in a political chaos as the UK has found itself into following double digit inflation, sending the prices of the essential goods soaring, and the people restive against the incumbent government.

Xi’s usurping the power for another term by purging his rivals in the Communist party in his country is being watched by the global community for the possible direction China will take in the near future. Address of Xi at the 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress had given ample indications of his plan to seek an ultra-nationalist agenda in his next term, which has caused consternations among the neighbouring countries, as Beijing has hostile relations with most of the countries.

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