- German Foreign Minister warns against complete decoupling
- Covid threatens the countryside
- China fuels global electric bus boom
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The China community is eagerly awaiting the German government’s new China strategy, of which initial details have already been leaked. Speaking with Table.Media, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock now defends her ministry’s ideas and goals. Germany has “experienced what can happen if we make ourselves massively dependent on a country that does not share our values, that competes with our democracy as an autocratic regime,” Baerbock said. That is why diversification of the economy is necessary, she added. The Green politician praised the German medium-sized businesses in this context – and criticized the Dax corporations.
In the meantime, China faces a potential second COVID-19 wave this month. And this time it is likely to hit rural regions, where people may be even more vulnerable to the virus than in the developed metropolises due to poor health care. The reason: Chinese New Year on January 22 is approaching, and traditionally millions and millions travel to their families in their home villages. The festival could turn into a tragic super-spreader event, as our team of authors in Beijing analyzes.
Somewhat in the shadow of the Chinese EV boom, China also advanced the development of electric buses with targeted subsidy policies. Almost every electric bus in the world now rolls on China’s roads. This makes China the main driver of the global electrification of bus fleets, as Nico Beckert analyzes. One problem the People’s Republic still has to solve, however, is the climate impact of electric vehicles: As long as coal dominates the electricity mix, carbon emission reductions are well below potential. Nevertheless, other countries can learn a few lessons from China’s electric bus successes.
‘We cannot again act so irresponsibly shortsighted’
There is growing concern within the Social Democratic Party that the harsher tone – set by the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Economics – could seriously damage relations with China and jeopardize prosperity. Can you sympathize with this concern?
In a fully interconnected world, you cannot decouple yourself from any region, and certainly not from one of the largest economies. That is why the China strategy is not a decoupling strategy. But we have seen what can happen when we become massively dependent on a country that does not share our values, and that competes with our democracy as an autocratic regime. It makes us vulnerable, and precaution is the best protection. I consider it our responsibility as a government to protect ourselves from this by systematically positioning ourselves and the economy as best we can in foreign, digital, infrastructure and energy policy to face global challenges.
Do you equate Russia and China?