China on Monday reacted angrily after over the weekend a clip of German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock referring to President Xi Jinping as a “dictator” went viral. Beijing summoned the German ambassador to China to lodge formal protest, saying it is “extremely dissatisfied” with the remarks which were given to Fox News during Baerbock’s visit to the US.
China said it has “made serious inquiries” with the German government over the interview. Additionally in a daily briefing foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning called the comments from Germany’s top diplomat “absurd” and blasted the “open political provocation” as the words “violate China’s political dignity”.
Baerbock in the Thursday Fox interview had said “We will support Ukraine as long as it takes,” but then followed with: “If Putin were to win this war, what sign would that be for other dictators in the world, like Xi, like the Chinese president? Therefore, Ukraine has to win this war.”
The dictator comment immediately grabbed world headlines, with the clip being shared widely on social media.
“(The comments) are extremely absurd and are a serious infringement of China’s political dignity and an open political provocation,” China’s foreign ministry said.
China far and away accounts for the bulk of all imports into Germany, with bilateral trade last year hitting record $337 billion.
On Friday Baerbock met with her US counterpart Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the White House. Blinken said in a press conference afterward that the US and Germany are converging on their approaches to China.
“We also discussed our common approaches to China, and we very much welcome Germany’s China strategy. It is very coincident with our own,” Blinken told reporters. “I think it reflects something that we’ve seen around the world, both in Europe, in Asia, as well as in the United States, which is a growing convergence in our approaches to China.”
So the German Foreign Minister Bärbock called Xi Jinping a “dictator”
I’m curious how the German car industry views these kinds of statements….
— Richard (@ricwe123) September 15, 2023
He then emphasized while alongside the German FM, “Both of us, among other things, share the goal when it comes to our economic relationships of de-risking, not decoupling.”