“Joint sustainable action”

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The Federal Chancellor’s visit to China “Joint sustainable action”

Federal Chancellor Scholz visited China for the second time during his time in office. In addition to business relations, the visit focussed on geopolitical challenges and sustainability strategies. On the last day of his trip, Scholz met with the President of State Xi Jinping.

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Federal Chancellor Scholz with China’s President Xi.

Federal Chancellor Scholz with President Xi: intense inter-governmental exchange.

Photo: Federal Government/Kugler

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz travelled to China for official talks for the second time in his time in office. “Joint sustainable action” was the motto of the trip that was all about the Federal Government’s China strategy, which was published last year. 

The last stop of the trip was Beijing, where the Federal Chancellor was welcomed by President of State Xi Jinping before meeting Prime Minister Li Qiang. Following these meetings, the Federal Chancellor reported that they had had good, comprehensive and intense conversations.

With President Xi, Scholz discussed ways for Germany and China to contribute to a just peace in Ukraine. The Chancellor said that he and Xi Jinping agreed that maintaining Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity was essential to enable a sustainable peace order. The Federal Chancellor asked President Xi to get in touch with Russia to encourage “Putin to abandon his insane military campaign, withdraw his troops and end this war”.

Photo series: Federal Chancellor Scholz in Beijing

The situation in the Middle East

The situation in the Middle East was also addressed as part of the talks in Beijing. The Federal Chancellor condemned Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israeli territory in the strongest possible terms once again and said that a conflagration in the region had to be prevented.

Once more, Scholz called for the immediate release of all hostages still being held by their captors following the barbaric terrorist attack against Israel by Hamas on 7 October. China and Germany also both demanded unhindered and reliable access for humanitarian aid to Gaza, Scholz stated, adding that President Xi and he considered a two-state solution to be the only option for enabling long-term peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians.

China continues to be a key business partner

“China should and will remain a key business partner for Germany and all of Europe,” the Federal Chancellor stressed. He also said that fair competitive conditions were essential for this and that he had talked in depth to Prime Minister Li Qiang about ensuring market access on an equal footing, the protection of intellectual property and the necessity to establish a reliable legal framework.

Another topic discussed was the global political responsibility of both states in the field of collaboration for fighting climate change. The Federal Chancellor reported that they had agreed on close coordination in the area of sustainable farming, the protection and conservation of biodiversity, and avoiding plastic waste, among other things.

In closing, Scholz stressed that: “We will not be able to master these global challenges without China. We can and we should tackle them together.” 

Dialogue about circular economy and resource efficiency

Germany and China agreed to engage in a strategic dialogue about the issues of a circular economy and resource efficiency. Federal Minister of the Environment Steffi Lemke and Zhang Shanjie, Head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), signed an action plan that focusses, in particular, on reducing waste and preserving resources.

Visits to German companies 

Federal Chancellor Scholz travelled together with a business delegation and visited German companies and their production facilities in the metropolises of Chongqing and Shanghai. In addition to his talks with China’s political leaders and local companies, Scholz also spoke to students and representatives of the arts and of civil society. Scholz stated that the goal of his trip was to stay in touch with China. The journey focussed on three main topics: trade and business, the protection of global assets – with regard to sustainability and climate change action – and geopolitical challenges.

First stop: the multi-million metropolis of Chongqing

The trip started in Chongqing, China’s biggest city with a population of over 32 million. Here, Scholz visited the Bosch company and took a tour of its production facility for sustainable hydrogen-powered drives.

The company Bosch Hydrogen Powertrain Systems Co. Ltd. promotes the development of the hydrogen industry at its site in Chongqing, as well as accelerating the development of clusters of the new energy and storage industry.

In Chongqing, the Federal Chancellor also learned about a research project dedicated to monitoring water quality which is being conducted by the Free State of Saxony and Chongqing University. Furthermore, Scholz met the Party Secretary of Chongqing’s Central Committee, Yuan Jiajun, for a conversation.

Second stop: innovation centre in Shanghai 

On day two of his trip, Federal Chancellor Scholz travelled on to Shanghai. Here he met with students of Tongij University for a town hall talk, followed by a tour of the innovation centre of the plastics manufacturer Covestro. 

The Covestro company is working on green and sustainable technologies and is among the world leaders in the production of high-quality plastics and their components. At its site in Shanghai, the company uses electric vehicles for short-distance transport of chemicals.

During a meeting with the Foreign Chamber of Commerce, Scholz spoke to representatives of the business world. The talks focussed on challenges and problems German companies are faced with in China. It was particularly important, the Federal Chancellor stressed, that companies are guaranteed their rights and fair competition, which also includes access to public tenders in his opinion.