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German foreign minister urges China to exert influence on Russia to end Ukraine war

Wayne Chang in Taipei, Taiwan

During a joint press conference in Beijing, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told her Chinese counterpart Qin Gang that China should exert influence on Russia to end the war in Ukraine, and said that unilateral change of the status quo over the Taiwan Strait by means of force is unacceptable.

Baerbock said Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Moscow, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, clearly indicates that no country has bigger influence over Russia than China.

“In the same fashion as how China mediated between Iran and Saudi Arabia, we want China to use that influence to urge Russia to end its war in Ukraine,” Baerbock stated.

Baerbock is on her maiden visit to China from Thursday to Saturday.

On Taiwan: Baerbock also stated that destabilization of the Taiwan Strait would have terrible consequences for the global economy, and that Germany is concerned about the rising tensions over the Taiwan Strait.

“Military conflicts over the Taiwan Strait would be a horrible scenario and one that is unacceptable to Europe.  We call on all parties to not escalate tensions in the region, and we will do everything we can to maintain peace and stability in the region,” Baerbock said.
“We will continue to uphold the one China policy, but differences must be resolved through peaceful means.  Europe will not accept unilateral change of status quo through the use of force,” Baerbock added.

In response, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang reiterated Beijing’s position of promoting peace talks and not providing lethal and dual-use weapons to all relevant parties in the Ukraine war.

Qin said, “Taiwan independence and peace cannot coexist together,” and added that “if a country says it respects the one China principle, it should resolutely oppose Taiwan independence.”

Qin also called for cooperation and not competition between China and Germany.

Some context: Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there’s worry that China may one day treat Taiwan in the same way. China’s ruling Communist Party has never controlled Taiwan but claims the self-ruled island democracy as its own and has repeatedly refused to rule out taking it by force. Since the war in Ukraine, the European Union has taken a harsh stance against Russia and its close ally, China, as their military and trade relations run deep.

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