By Tenzin Dharpo
German Foreign Minister Gabriel Sigmar. file photo
DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 11: The German Foreign Minister has called on fellow European Union nations to band together against China, which he said was trying to divide the union. Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that China is leveraging nations in the EU to further their interests through economic might.
“If we do not succeed for example in developing a single strategy towards China, then China will succeed in dividing Europe,” he said to French ambassadors gathered in Paris on Saturday.
Gabriel said that China is aggressively trying to court European countries through the so called the 16+1 initiative which is aimed at intensifying and expanding cooperation with 11 EU Member States and 5 Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia) in the field of investment in varied fields.
He said that the alliance with China comes at a price of essentially siding with Beijing when it comes to issues such as human rights and international laws. He cited recent incidents such as Greece blocking a European Union statement at the UN Human Rights Council that was critical of China’s human rights record.
Gabriel also criticized some EU nations that did not object to China’s refusal to accept an international court ruling on its territorial claims in the South China Sea. “Some EU member states don‘t want to approve [the ruling], because they do not want to put themselves in conflict with China,” Gabriel said in his address to the French ambassadors.
The French FM said that China should respect the “One Europe” policy just as they urge all nations to abide by their “One China Policy”.