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16 Sep, 2023 09:17

German FM labels Xi ‘a dictator’

The West must help Ukraine win its conflict against Russia to deter people like the Chinese leader, Annalena Baerbock has claimed
German FM labels Xi ‘a dictator’

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has branded Chinese President Xi Jinping a “dictator,” warning that a Russian victory in the Ukraine conflict could embolden leaders like him.

In an interview with Fox News released on Thursday, Baerbock was asked for her take on how Berlin and the West think the hostilities between Kiev and Moscow will end. According to the foreign minister, the only outcome can be “liberty and peace in Ukraine.”

“Because if [Russian President Vladimir] Putin were to win this war, what sign would that be for other dictators in the world? Like Xi, the Chinese president? So, therefore, Ukraine must win this war,” she said, reiterating Germany’s commitment to support Kiev for “as long as it takes.”

China’s Foreign Ministry has yet to comment on the remarks.

Baerbock is not the first Western leader to openly label Xi a “‘dictator” in recent months. In June, US President Joe Biden made a similar statement following an incident involving a Chinese balloon that strayed into US airspace and was shot down by an American fighter jet earlier this year. While Washington claimed the vessel was spying on US military facilities, Beijing denied the allegation, saying it had veered off course due to “force majeure factors.”

“That’s a great embarrassment for dictators. When they didn’t know what happened. That [balloon] wasn’t supposed to be going where it was,” Biden said at the time. His remarks drew a sharp rebuke from Beijing, which called them “extremely absurd and irresponsible.”

Baerbock’s comments also come after the German government released its first-ever “Strategy on China” in July, which called for a change in its approach to Beijing. The document insisted on cutting the country’s dependence on China – Germany’s main trading partner – in a number of “critical sectors,” including medicine, lithium batteries, and elements used in chipmaking.

While recognizing that China remains Germany’s key partner in tackling climate change and fostering sustainable development, Berlin voiced concerns about what it called Beijing’s increasingly assertive policies and attempts to “reshape the existing rules-based international order.”

In April, Baerbock warned Europe not to turn a blind eye to tensions between Beijing and Taiwan – a self-ruled island that China considers part of its sovereign territory – noting that it could lead to a “worst-case scenario” for the global economy.