Germany and China start government talks | Free press

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Relations between Germany and China are more tense than in a long time: disputes over sanctions, Uyghurs and Hong Kong – and problems in the German economy make cooperation more difficult.

Berlin / Beijing (dpa) – Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang have begun their government talks, overshadowed by political tensions.

It is the sixth edition of the talks that have been held every two years since 2011 in this large format, in which the members of the cabinets also come together. This time there was only video conferencing for the first time because of the pandemic. An economic forum with representatives of companies from both sides was also on the agenda in Beijing.

Traditionally, good relationships have been weighed down by a long list of contentious issues. Last month, for example, China imposed sanctions on German and other EU MPs, academics and organizations that are seen as critical of China. It was in response to European sanctions against those responsible for repressing the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region of northwest China.

There are also differences over China’s tough stance on the democratic forces in Hong Kong and the threats against Taiwan and in the controversial South China Sea. In addition, the relationship suffers from the troubles of the German economy with China’s strict access restrictions as a result of the pandemic.

Regardless of the disagreements, the federal government wants to make concrete progress on issues that are important to both sides, with reference to the environment, climate and economic relations. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert called the relationships “dynamic, dense, diverse”. Without commenting on the disagreements, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin spoke of “good momentum in bilateral cooperation” that should be promoted.

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