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13 May, 2024 14:21

Germany upset by China’s embrace of Russia – envoy

Beijing’s close ties with Moscow “cast doubt” on its relationship with Europe, Germany’s ambassador to China has said
Germany upset by China’s embrace of Russia – envoy

China’s stance on the Ukraine conflict and close ties with Russia call into question its relationship with Germany and Europe, Berlin’s ambassador to Beijing has said.

China has ramped up trade with Russia since the start of the conflict, while refusing to condemn Moscow’s actions, Patricia Flor said in an interview with the South China Morning Post on Monday.

”For Germans and Europeans, Russia’s aggression is an existential threat. This is a nuclear power next to us that just invaded its neighbour. It has really shaken up people,” Flor told the news outlet. “The situation casts doubt on China’s relations with Germany and Europe.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz paid a visit to China in April, and met with President Xi Jinping, who outlined four principles to prevent the conflict in Ukraine from escalating. Among them was for the West to stop “adding fuel to the fire,” which he said would lay the groundwork for peace.

Germany, a NATO member, has emerged as a top supplier of military equipment and weapons to Kiev, and has trained Ukrainian soldiers. In 2022 and 2023, Berlin spent around €6.6 billion ($7.13 billion) on military assistance to the country, according to government data.

Beijing has insisted it remains neutral in the Ukraine conflict, and repeatedly called for the crisis to be settled through negotiations. 

Economic ties between China and Russia are also “of great concern” to Germany, Flor said, referring to the alleged supply of dual-use goods and components by China to Russia. Western countries claim that the goods can be used by the Russian military. The US said in April that it was ready to impose secondary sanctions against Beijing over its alleged support for the Russian defense industry.

China has denied selling weapons to Russia. In April, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning insisted that China “regulates the export of dual-use articles in accordance with laws and regulations,” and urged “relevant countries” not to “smear or attack the normal relations between China and Russia.”

Following the introduction of sanctions against Russia by the US, the EU and their allies, Russia redirected its trade flows to the Asia-Pacific market, primarily to China. Trade between the nations hit an all-time high of $240 billion in 2023.