| 15 April 2024, Monday |

Germany calls China a growing threat as it steps up focus on security

Germany said in its first national security policy on Wednesday that China posed a rising danger to global security, underlining Berlin’s shift in emphasis from economic interests to geopolitics in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The strategy plan characterizes Beijing as aggressively asserting supremacy in Asia and striving to use its economic strength to achieve political aims, using scathing language regarding its main trade partner.

The document highlights the main threats Germany perceives it faces, from climate change to supply chain disruptions, and includes a few policy specifics, such as a commitment to raising defense spending and creating an agency to fight cyberattacks.

Analysts noted it does not prioritize which threats to fight or contain any major surprises. It also omits some major issues, such as Taiwan, and as expected, does not create a National Security Council that would help its implementation.

“This is a major change being carried out by us in Germany in how we deal with security policy,” moving from a military strategy towards an integrated security concept, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at the presentation of the document, while adding a more detailed China strategy should be ready soon.

“In future, we will focus more on security when it comes to decisions on economic policy,” Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said. “We paid for every cubic meter of Russian gas twofold and threefold with our national security.”

Germany’s reliance on Russia for around half its gas imports prevented it from immediately being able to stop energy trade with Moscow after it invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Russia is the top threat to European peace “for now”, the National Security Strategy (NSS) said.

The document highlights the need for Germany to reduce all dependencies on other countries for commodities and incentivize companies to hold strategic reserves.

These measures are particularly relevant now to Germany, and Europe’s reliance on China for critical minerals key to the transition to a carbon neutral economy.

“China is deliberately exerting its economic power to reach political goals,” reads the NSS, which comes just a week before German-China government consultations are due in Berlin.

However, China remains a partner the world needs to resolve global challenges and crises, it added.

  • Reuters