China complained to Germany after its foreign minister called president Xi Jinping a “dictator”, the Chinese foreign ministry said. Calling the title “absurd” and an “open political provocation”, China lashed out against Annalena Baerbock branding the comment as “extremely absurd”. This comes as Germany published a new policy in July to manage a more “assertive” China after months of debate within the government over its strategy as Beijing is Berlin’s top trade partner.
Annalena Baerbock has pushed for a more hawkish line against China and made the remarks in a Fox News interview during a visit to the United States. While talking about the Ukraine war, the German foreign minister said, “If Putin were to win this war, what sign would that be for other dictators in the world, like Xi, like the Chinese president? So therefore Ukraine has to win this war.”
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Annalena Baerbock is an outspoken critic of China. Earlier in August, she said that China posed a challenge to the “fundamentals of how we live together in this world”. Described aspects of a trip to China, she had then called them “more than shocking”, saying that Beijing was increasingly becoming more of a systemic rival than a trade partner.
China said that it was “strongly dissatisfied” and that it had made “solemn representations to the German side through diplomatic channels”.
“(The comments) are extremely absurd and are a serious infringement of China’s political dignity and an open political provocation,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said.
Under its new China policy, Berlin has called Beijing a “partner, competitor, systemic rival”.