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Face-to-face diplomacy: Foreign Minister Maas meets his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Berlin China

Two men each standing at a lectern at a press conference 

Foreign Minister Maas meets his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Berlin, © Felix Zahn/photothek.net

01.09.2020 - Article

It is six months since the two Foreign Ministers were last able to meet in person. Much has changed since then, and there is a lot that needs to be discussed. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas today met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Berlin. 

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, international diplomatic visits came to a standstill. However, face-to-face conversations are indispensable for diplomatic dialogue, especially when there is as much to discuss as in Chinese-German relations. The topics on the agenda today included the further development of bilateral relations, the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and international conflicts. The two Ministers also discussed human rights issues. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stressed: 

The new security law in Hong Kong was already a major issue at our last meeting, and you know from your visits to other European capitals that our concerns about the repercussions of the security law have not yet been eased. We want the “one country, two systems” principle to be applied in full and the rights guaranteed in the Basic Law to be respected. Within the EU we are agreed that this remains our yardstick for developments in Hong Kong.

Further development of EU-China relations

The strategic further development of EU-China relations is one of the priorities of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. At their meeting, the two Foreign Ministers also discussed the deepening of economic relations. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas emphasised: 

It was important to me today to convey that we Europeans want good relations with China – a relationship between equals characterised by mutual respect. The future of Europe must become a more sovereign and more self-confident one. We will stand up for our values even beyond the EU’s external borders, in all directions of the compass. A decoupling in relations between the EU and China is not in our interest. It is in no-one’s interest. In both political and economic terms, there are many reasons for enhanced cooperation.

Looking at global challenges

Many international conflicts can only be resolved in dialogue with China. For that reason, the talks today also looked at current trouble spots and at cooperation in the United Nations Security Council.

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