In first Asia visit German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits Japan, skips China

In a significant development German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, Berlin seeks closer relations with countries that shares its common democratic values in the Asia-Pacific region.

Scholz is scheduled to visit Japan and will skip going to China, during his first official trip to the region.

“It is no coincidence that my first trip as chancellor to this region has led today here, to Tokyo,” said Scholz. “My trip is a clear political signal that Germany and the EU will continue and intensify their engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.”

In a joint press conference, the Prime Ministers from both countries underscored their rejection of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine while warning of possible attempts of changing territorial boundaries by force in Asia.

The war in Ukraine has highlighted Germany’s energy reliance on Russia and has spurred Berlin to take its energy security into account while balancing its foreign and trade policy with allies.

Scholz’s trip to Japan assumes more significance since it contrasts with his predecessor Angela Merkel first Asia trip, which was to Communist China. In fact, Merkel visited China twice as often as she did Japan, with German companies benefiting from booming Chinese economic growth.

His visit to Japan comes at a time when Germany’s lower house of parliament overwhelmingly passed a petition in support of Ukraine which included a clause calling on his government to threaten China with sanctions if it seeks to circumvent western restrictions on Russia or if China was to deliver weapons to Russia.

A member of the business delegation accompanying Scholz was quick to point out against reading too much into the decision to not to visit China, given the raging COVID-19 pandemic there at the moment.

Both leaders also shared “serious concerns” over events in Hong Kong and human rights conditions in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Scholz warned against a trend of deglobalisation and protectionism which he said was “not an option, especially not for open, free trade nations like Germany and Japan”.

“What we need instead is a different globalization, a cleverer globalization,” said Scholz.

Categories: Creativity, Entrepreneurship, Geopolitics, HR & Organization, Strategy

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