In an interview with the US broadcaster Fox News, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called Chinese leader Xi Jinping a “dictator”. This now has diplomatic consequences.
Out of anger over statements made by Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens), the Chinese government summoned the German ambassador. A spokesman for the Foreign Office announced this in Berlin on Monday. Ambassador Patricia Flor was summoned in connection with Baerbock’s description of Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dictator”. According to the Foreign Office, the summons was made on Sunday.
Baerbock reacted calmly to the Chinese criticism. When asked whether she had already received an official protest from Beijing and how she would react, the Green politician replied on Monday on the sidelines of UN Week in New York: “I have taken note of that.” Even when asked, Baerbock did not want to comment in more detail.
China: Baerbock’s statements “extremely absurd” and “provocation”
China had rejected Baerbock’s characterization of Xi as a dictator as a political provocation. “The German side’s statements are extremely absurd, seriously insult China’s political dignity and are an open political provocation,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said in Beijing on Monday. China contradicts what the German side said and has contacted Germany about it through diplomatic channels.
On September 14, during her trip to Texas, Baerbock commented on the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine in an interview with the US television channel Fox News. Referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, she said at the time: “If Putin were to win this war, what kind of sign would that be for other dictators in the world, like Xi, like the Chinese president?” The Green politician added: “That’s why Ukraine must win this war. Freedom and democracy must win.”
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Such an act of diplomatic protest is not unusual in German-Chinese relations. The last time such ambassadors were summoned was on the occasion of Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger’s (FDP) visit to Taiwan in the spring and after a foreign minister’s statement on Taiwan by the G7 group of states in August 2022.
US President Joe Biden has also described Xi Jinping as a “dictator” in the past, most recently in June. The communist leadership in Beijing also reacted indignantly and called it a provocation.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.