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Former German Chancellor Schröder calls for return to multilateralism

By Jeffrey Moeller, Zhang Liou (People's Daily Online)    14:46, November 17, 2020

Germany’s ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder expressed regret for the decline of multilateral principles and stressed the importance of international cooperation amid the COVID-19 pandemic during a recent exclusive interview with People’s Daily Online. Schröder also pointed to new opportunities in the China-Europe relationship.

Gerhard Schröder (Photo courtesy of Gerhard Schröder)

Relations with China have always been high on the list of priorities for Germany’s former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. During his tenure between 1998 and 2005, Schröder visited China a total of six times.

Schröder’s connection to China continues today. He still visits the country regularly and closely follows the developments in Europe-China policy. The former Chancellor noted that instead of more international cooperation, “multilateral principles are becoming less important” in international politics. “I regret that, because I am convinced that we need more cooperation instead of confrontation - especially in the current situation. We can only tackle the major challenges, such as the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic or climate change, together.”

In this regard, Schröder singles out the “very confrontational” course of the current US administration towards China. “My advice to German and European politicians is that they should not allow themselves to be drawn into this conflict,” he said.

In light of the tense China-US relationship, the ex-Chancellor believes Germany and Europe should work “even more closely and decisively with China” and highlights the mutual benefits of such cooperation. “German industry is benefiting from the rapid economic recovery in China. Conversely, it is interesting to see the extent to which Chinese investors are getting involved in Germany, especially in medium-sized companies,” he noted.

The 76-year-old Social Democrat is confident that the favorable policy and framework conditions for China-Germany cooperation will remain, even with Germany’s current Chancellor Angela Merkel leaving office next year: “I don’t fear any upheavals in German foreign policy, regardless of how the new government will be composed. Good relations with China have a long tradition in the Federal Republic of Germany. I am firmly convinced that the new Chancellor will follow the same path.”

Read the full interview (in German) here

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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