China hits out at German FM's 'dictator' Xi comment
China lashed out against German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock for calling President Xi Jinping a "dictator."
China strongly criticized German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Monday for referring to President Xi Jinping as a "dictator," denouncing her comment as "an overt political provocation" and "highly absurd."
Despite being Germany's top trading partner, Berlin published a new policy in July to address a more "assertive" China, following months of internal government debate over its strategy.
Baerbock, known for her hawkish stance, made these remarks during a Fox News interview, on September 14, while visiting the United States and discussing the Ukraine conflict. She stated, "If Putin were to win this war, what message would that send to other dictators in the world, like Xi, the Chinese president? Therefore, Ukraine must win this war."
China expressed strong dissatisfaction with her comments on Monday and stated that it had conveyed "solemn representations to the German side through diplomatic channels."
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning, during a daily news conference, remarked, "(The comments) are highly absurd and represent a grave affront to China's political dignity, constituting an overt political provocation."
Berlin's new China policy seeks to strike a delicate balance within its coalition government, describing Beijing as a "partner, competitor, systemic rival."
Baerbock, a member of the German Greens, has advocated for a tougher stance on China, with a stronger emphasis on human rights, while Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat, has supported a more trade-friendly approach.
This comes two months after Germany announced its first China strategy to urge companies to reduce their reliance on Beijing and mitigate risks. The strategy, eagerly anticipated by politicians, will demonstrate Germany's approach to dealing with an economically important "yet increasingly assertive China."
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock emphasized that the strategy would signal that "Germany is not naive in its dealings with China." The final text of the strategy was agreed upon after discussions among various government departments, including Scholz's office.
Baerbock highlighted the need to protect Germany's resilience and security by reducing dependencies threatening peace and freedom, drawing lessons from past experiences.
A draft version of the strategy, authored by the foreign ministry, had previously criticized China for its alleged human rights violations and proposed the implementation of "stress tests" for companies to ensure they are not overly dependent on Beijing.