The German‑Chinese intergovernmental consultations concluded on 28 April with a joint session of both cabinets. The talks focused on political and economic bilateral cooperation, as well as on overcoming global challenges – especially with regard to the fight against the COVID‑19 pandemic and climate policy. Due to restrictions in connection with the pandemic, the consultations were held in a purely virtual format. Foreign Minister Maas said the following on 21 April:
Talks with China are always something special. After all, China is not only an important global actor – China is also our biggest trading partner.
In the EU, we frequently say that we view China in several ways at once: as a partner, a competitor and a systemic rival. We need to keep all three dimensions equally in mind. And for all three dimensions we need strong, viable lines of communication with Beijing. In our view, decoupling is the wrong way to go about that. For this reason, too, it is good that we can continue our intergovernmental consultations in this format, in keeping with pandemic restrictions.
Cooperating with a view to overcoming global challenges
During the past two weeks, supplementary talks took place between the respective competent ministries. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met on 21 April via video conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. During their meeting they addressed, among other things, cooperation in the field of foreign and security policy. For there are a number of conflicts – especially in China’s neighbourhood – that can only be resolved by means of close and constructive dialogue with China. They also discussed bilateral relations. Both Ministers reached agreement on a foreign and security policy communiqué. Prior to the talks, Minister Maas emphasised:
It is clear that we want good relations with China. This means maintaining a dialogue, also on difficult issues. These include, in particular, human rights and the rule of law. We recently took a firm stance on this in the European Union. It is also always on the agenda of our intergovernmental consultations, and that will not be any different today.